Fats have been unfairly lumped together as being all bad for too long. Fat doesn’t necessarily cause disease, and can actually cause a role in its prevention. The truth is that some fats are very bad for us and some fats are actually very good for us.
Time has shown us that diets that restrict all fats fail in terms of weight loss. Since end of World War II, Americans have been told that they need to restrict saturated fat in their diets. So we switched to margarine from butter, and did what we could to restrict fat. We have been constantly told that reason for our health problems is that we still eat too much fat, especially saturated fats.
Since Americans have been told to eat a low fat diet to lose weight, results are that nearly two thirds of adult Americans are now classified as overweight and more children are overweight now than ever before. Obviously something is wrong. That is because we need special kinds of fats in our diets that we are not getting.
If you are like me, you grew up being told that vegetable oils were good oils and saturated fats were bad ones. Now we are finding out that it is just opposite. Diets that are moderate to high in “good” saturated fats and oils such as coconut oil and olive oil are actually very good for us. They raise good cholesterol levels and lower bad cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure. As a matter of fact, people who started adding at least 4 tablespoons of coconut oil to their diets every day, have found that they can now lose weight when they could not before on a fat restricted diet. Sometimes addition of these oils even helps with their health problems.
It turns out that bad guys are polyunsaturated oils, which carry toxic fatty acids (long chain fatty acids or LCT’s). These LCT’s tend to produce fat in body. Polyunsaturated oils are vegetable oils we commonly see in grocery store, such as soy, corn, cottonseed, rapeseed and safflower.
We have been told that they lower cholesterol, but they way that they do is not healthy, as it ends up collecting in liver. These oils are easily oxidized and damaged by free radicals. When cooked they become rancid in a few hours, even in refrigerator. This causes damage to our body at a cellular level, end results showing up as problems like diabetes, cancer, hypothyroidism and heart disease. And if that is not enough, these oils help us to get fat, lower metabolic rate in our bodies, help suppress thyroid function and cause our skin to age quicker.
Trans-fat is one of worst bad guys. Trans-fatty acids often appear on ingredient labels as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. It is what they do to vegetable oils to make them into hard fats such as margarine and vegetable shortening. It is used in prepared food industry in baked goods like cookies, crackers, and most supermarket peanut butter to prolong shelf life. These bad fats are used almost exclusively in fast foods that are fried. When heated and eaten, they turn into something like poison in your system, because your body can not process this kind of chemically made fat. Trans-fats not only increase levels of bad cholesterol, but they will decrease levels of good cholesterol in blood stream and trans-fatty acids have been linked to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Fats such as margarine and shortening should be totally avoided, as well as foods items that contain them.