by Matt Weik
Fats for years have been touted as a main contributor as to why people are overweight/obese. Without fully understanding the differences in fat everyone was told to stay clear of fats and eat as little as possible. Even the food pyramid was leading people down a path of eating meals high in carbohydrates and lower in protein/fats. Labels were calling out in large letters “low-fat” and “fat free” thinking these options were better than the “fat laden” counterpart. As more research is conducted, we are finding out that not all fats are created equal. Fats are comprised of a chain of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. What differentiates them is the length and shape of the carbon chain and the number of hydrogen atoms.
Without a doubt everyone needs fat in their diet. Fats help with processes within the body that carbohydrates and protein cannot do such as helping to absorb vitamins and minerals, protecting nerves, helping form blood clots, and building cell membranes. Fat is also a good source of energy during aerobic activity. Also of importance, you can think of fat as armor for your organs since fat surrounds the organs to give them protection.
The good, the bad, and the “somewhere in between” seems to be the breakdown of fats these days. You have the bad fats—trans fat. Then you have the “middle-ground fats” which are the saturated fats. Last but definitely not least are the good fats that we should all be taking in on a regular basis—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Foods high in these healthy fats:
•Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Why should you care?
The bodily functions that fat has its hands in were touched on above. These are necessary reasons why everyone needs fats in their diet. Polyunsaturated fats are ones that the body cannot produce on its own and for that reason needs to come from our diet—they are considered essential fats.
While the bad fats (trans fat) increases LDL cholesterol levels, it’s the good fats that bring the health benefits by lowering LDL levels while increasing HDL cholesterol levels. Eating good fats lower triglycerides as well. Some healthy sources of fat such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to help fight heart disease and lower blood pressure.
For overall health and longevity, it is advised to eat food sources that contain good fats (polyunsaturated/monounsaturated). Doing so will allow your body to function how it was intended and keep it running efficiently.
Healthy fats may:
•Help with weight loss and fat reduction
•Help those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes to lower medication dosages or even might eliminate the need for medication all together
•Help improve memory
•Help lower triglycerides
•Help lower total cholesterol
•Help lower LDL levels
•Help increase HDL levels
Let’s recap and put it all together. Fats these days seem to be a four-letter word that people shy away from in fear of gaining weight and unwanted body fat. In some instances they are correct. The good news is not all fats are created equal. Some may improve your overall health and quality of life. What if these same fats could help you in the weight room and on the playing field? Wouldn’t you want to get an edge on your opponents? It’s possible!
With the addition of healthy fats in your diet your health and fitness goals are that much more in reach! By including healthy fats, your life could drastically change for the better. Shed off those unwanted pounds. Improve your blood work. Enhance your memory and best of all if you are diabetic it could even lower your medication dosages or better yet allow you to get rid of your medication all together if cleared by a physician.
Free yourself from those terrible fat-free diets everyone is used to hearing about and live life to the fullest with the help of healthy fats! Get some flavor back into your diet! Your future healthier self will thank you!
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