Understanding Healthy Fats in Your Diet

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Weight loss can be easy if you have the right information. The information below will teach you healthy fats in your diet.

Some of the Myths

  • Eating fat makes you fat.
  • Saturated fat causes heart disease.
  • Refined polyunsaturated oils are healthy.
  • Replacing dietary fat with carbohydrates promotes health.

More: Whats the Big Fat Deal? Basic Fat Facts

If these things were so, the dietary advice taken since the 1950s would have seen the nation become leaner and healthier. Instead, in 2011 the Centers for Disease Control reported a staggering 67 percent of American adults were overweight.

Look back in time. People lived into old age with almost no obesity, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, or diabetes. What was different? According to Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist who researched the nutrition of indigenous populations in the 1930s, one constant in healthy cultures was natural fat—most of it saturated—comprising 30 to 80 percent of their diets.

More: Good Carbs, Good Protein, Good Fats

Those Fats

  • Provide a concentrated source of energy.
  • Build healthy cell membranes for regulating what goes in and out of cells.
  • Provide raw materials to make important hormones, including sex hormones.
  • Provide vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • Slow the absorption of food to regulate blood sugar.
  • Make food taste great.
  • Help people feel full and satisfied.

It's that last one that is vital to healthy, almost effortless, weight control. Have you ever embarked on a low-fat diet, only to struggle with constant hunger? Fat signals our brain that we're full and slows the entry of food into the bloodstream. You'll find that with enough fat in your diet, you won't get hungry for hours.

To understand what makes a healthy fat, it helps to have a quick chemistry lesson. Fats, technically fatty acids, are basically chains of carbon atoms, each with two hydrogen atoms hooked on. In a saturated fat, all the carbon atoms are filled—saturated—with hydrogen.

More: Unhealthy Trans Fats Still in Many Foods