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Friday, May 24, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and The Reasons Why

Greetings everyone! Who is excited to learn the lesson of the day today?! :) Well put your thinking caps on because this one is a doozy...

So, who can tell me what we learned about yesterday? Anyone? Bueller? :)

Yes! Carbohydrates! Can anyone tell me what group carbohydrates fall into?

Yes again! Macronutrients! The macronutrients group consists of carbs, proteins, and??? (Warning: It's about to get graphic people!).

FAT! That's right! I said it! I said the "F" word on my blog! The horrible "F" word that everyone is afraid to even mention in simple conversation or think of when standing in front of that mirror at the retail store during swimsuit season. (Side note: Do NOT under any circumstances go to Google and type in fat under the image eyes will never be the same! I mean it! DON'T! Just accept the safe image of good vs. bad door choices above and move on!).

On that note, moving on...

So we know that fat can be bad for us, but what about good fat? Oh you didn't know?!? Yes, there are good fats too and our bodies need them to survive...but how do we know what's what? Isn't fat linked with obesity?

Okay, let's break it down:

Fact: In order for the body to become overweight, one needs to overindulge in all macronutrients (among other things) while maintaining a low level of physical fitness....not just fat! Fat is higher in calories than other macronutrients (containing 9 calories p/gram compared to carbs containing 4 calories p/gram), causing the need for moderation to be higher for it specifically, but it is not a complete enemy.

Still lost? Okay, let's talk about the different types of fat listed on nutritional labels so that we can get a better understanding of all this:

Fats can initially be broken down into two groups: saturated (the bad fats) and unsaturated (the good fats).

Bad Fats:

Saturated fat is linked to many diseases such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity (noticing a theme in these diseases during each blog post?).  Animal products and man-made solidified vegetable oils contain saturated fats and, according to the American Heart Association, should only make up 7% of one's daily fat intake at most! Trans fats fall under the saturated fat category as well. They can be found in natural products from animals (which aren't as bad...but are still bad for you overall) and man-made products (liquid oils turned into solids through processing - i.e. partially hydrogenated oil). Trans fats are currently the most dangerous type of fat and should be limited at all costs, as they contribute to high LDL and low HDL (I'll explain these later) - leading to heart disease if not caught in time. Trans fats are typically found in baked goods, fried foods, and packaged/processed snacks.

Good Fats:

Unsaturated fats are linked to lowering the chances of getting heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, and reducing LDL. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats fall under this category. These types of fats are good for (and required by) the body as long as they are eaten in moderation.  Sources of these types of fats include avocados, unsalted nuts (other than peanuts), unsalted seeds, fish oils (Omega-3s), olives, liquid vegetable oils, flaxseed, etc. These fats contain vitamins that are scarce throughout most diets and, due to that fact, you should eat one portion of unsaturated fats a day or 10% of your caloric intake.

Although these are good, fat is fat! Keep in mind that fat is high in calories! For instance, one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil is around 120 calories!!! Just watching cooks on the FNC makes me cringe as I see them pour half the bottle of EVOO into the pan before "searing" (basically pan-frying) fish. :( They quickly turn a healthy meal into a meal FULL of fat and then have the audacity to call it good for you on the menu! (This is why you have to be careful at restaurants too! Do you think that just because the fish is labeled as "low calories" on the menu that it actually is in reality? Who knows how much EVOO or butter...or worse...margarine...they are cooking that fish in back in the kitchen). All information in this article was based off the WebMD web page linked here.

So, hopefully you now have a basic understanding of good vs. bad fats and can make healthier choices at the grocery store or the Farmer's Market. Remember, not all fats are bad, BUT all fats should be eaten in moderation! I know this was a long post, but it was necessary. :) Thanks for sticking it out with me! (If you did the google search mentioned earlier...shame on you! ;-)

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow!

*Disclaimer: All of the information provided here is the opinion of the author after thorough research of medical surveys, medical reports, and medical/government web site information. It has not been reviewed by a medical professional and results cannot be guaranteed by the author. Consult with your doctor before planning any diet or fitness changes.

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