Tag Archives: Unsaturated fats

What Constitutes a Healthy Diet?

10 Sep

When it comes to healthy dietary recommendations, there’s a lot of conflicting information from the world of medical science.  To complicate matters, there are about a zillion books, documentaries, and news reports that attempt to provide us with nutritional “advice.”

Despite a plethora of differing opinions from the “experts,” there is an issue on which they agree: Our country has an alarming obesity problem.  About 1 in every 4 health care dollars are spent combating the resulting side effects of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Physical activity is a big part of the solution.  Regular exercise is good medicine, both as prevention and treatment.

Diet and nutrition are the complement to exercise.  Here’s some sound nutritional advice for the masses (and about as close to a consensus as the experts get):

  • Eating fat doesn’t make you fat.  The importance of reducing fat intake is a myth, and was never supported by any good evidence.  All it did was make people rush to replace fat with carbs.
  • Some fats are better than others.  Unsaturated fats — like those found in olive oil, nuts, and legumes — are good choices.  Too much saturated fat (red meat, cheese, butter) can be bad.  Trans fats, sometimes listed on food labels as “partially hydrogenated oils,” should be avoided.
  • Choose your calories wisely.  Some forms of calories make you store fat more readily than others, and refined carbohydrates — white rice, pasta, crackers, cookies, candy — are at the top of that list.
  • A protein-rich diet may or may not be good for you.  If you’re physically active and eat lean protein sources (chicken and fish), it’s a good thing.  If you’re sedentary, it’s just a lot of extra calories from another source.
  • Sugar is bad, especially when you drink it.  Sugary beverages — even one a day — raise your risk of diabetes and obesity.  Sugar has adverse metabolic effects and virtually zero nutritional benefit.
  • Your body needs variety to function properly.  Every day, you should eat an assortment of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole-grains, and healthy fats.  Whole foods are better than supplements.  Aim for balance.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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What Are “Good” Fats?

4 Sep

112_9_4_164232374[1]A little fat in your diet can be good for you, but not all fats are created equal.

Bad fats include trans and saturated fats.  These fats may negatively impact your health.

Bad fats:

  • raise “bad” cholesterol (LDL)
  • may lower “good” cholesterol (HDL)
  • can increase the risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke.

Most trans fats are artificially produced as a result of partial hydrogenation, which is a process used to convert liquid oil to a solid.

Generally, natural trans fats are not a big concern, especially if you choose low-fat dairy products and lean meats. The real worry in the American diet is the artificial trans fats. They’re used extensively in frying, baked goods, cookies, icings, crackers, packaged snack foods, microwave popcorn, and some margarines.

Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature and naturally occur in foods such as meat.

Good fats, such as mono- (omega-9) and polyunsaturated (omega-3) fats are liquid at room temperature and naturally occur in many foods.  These fats have positive health benefits.

Good fats:

  • are shown to improve cholesterol levels
  • may help reduce risk factors of heart disease and stroke
  • may help reduce risk of diabetes
  • could promote healthy nerve activity
  • are shown to improve vitamin absorption
  • are required to maintain healthy immune system
  • promote cell development.

Sources of good fats include avocado; fish (especially fatty fish like salmon, trout, catfish, and mackerel); almonds; walnuts; peanuts and peanut butter; cashews; canola oil; sunflower oil; olives and olive oil; coconuts and coconut oil; seeds; and low-fat dairy.

As a rule minimize saturated fats, eliminate trans fats, and increase consumption of unsaturated fats.

Here are more tips to help you reduce the total amount of fat in your diet and make sure the fats you consume are the healthy ones (from WebMD):

  • Choose a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • Try a vegetarian meal, with plenty of beans, once a week
  • Select dairy products that are skim or low-fat
  • Experiment with light and reduced-fat salad dressings
  • Replace fattier sauces with vinegars, mustards, and lemon juice
  • When using fats, do so sparingly. Try to use unsaturated liquid oils, such as canola or olive, instead of butter or partially hydrogenated margarine
  • Limit your consumption of high-fat foods, such as processed foods, fried foods, sweets, and desserts
  • When cooking, substitute the lower-fat alternative (for example, low-fat sour cream or low-fat cream cheese) whenever possible

Know your fats.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

What Constitutes a Healthy Diet?

15 Aug

48470_f520[1]When it comes to healthy dietary recommendations, there’s a lot of conflicting information from the world of medical science.  To complicate matters, there are about a zillion books, documentaries, and news reports that attempt to provide us with nutritional “advice.”

Despite a plethora of differing opinions from the “experts,” there is an issue on which they agree: Our country has an alarming obesity problem.  About 1 in every 4 health care dollars are spent combating the resulting side effects of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Physical activity is a big part of the solution.  Regular exercise is good medicine, both as prevention and treatment.

Diet and nutrition are the complement to exercise.  Here’s some sound nutritional advice for the masses (and about as close to a consensus as the experts get):

  • Eating fat doesn’t make you fat.  The importance of reducing fat intake is a myth, and was never supported by any good evidence.  All it did was make people rush to replace fat with carbs.
  • Some fats are better than others.  Unsaturated fats — like those found in olive oil, nuts, and legumes — are good choices.  Too much saturated fat (red meat, cheese, butter) can be bad.  Trans fats, sometimes listed on food labels as “partially hydrogenated oils,” should be avoided.
  • Choose your calories wisely.  Some forms of calories make you store fat more readily than others, and refined carbohydrates — white rice, pasta, crackers, cookies, candy — are at the top of that list.
  • A protein-rich diet may or may not be good for you.  If you’re physically active and eat lean protein sources (chicken and fish), it’s a good thing.  If you’re sedentary, it’s just a lot of extra calories from another source.
  • Sugar is bad, especially when you drink it.  Sugary beverages — even one a day — raise your risk of diabetes and obesity.  Sugar has adverse metabolic effects and virtually zero nutritional benefit.
  • Your body needs variety to function properlyEvery day, you should eat an assortment of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole-grains, and healthy fats.  Whole foods are better than supplements.  Aim for balance.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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