Many people often hear the word “fat” and link it to terms like “weight gain” and “unhealthy.” However, these correlations aren’t always the case; not all fats aren’t bad for your health.
However, it is true that a lot of “unhealthy fats,” namely trans fats, are abundant in the typical American diet. In turn, over 102 million American adults suffer from high cholesterol levels. However, instead of cutting out fats altogether to stay healthy, you should first understand how the body uses and stores fat. For many people, this may mean unlearning some widely-believed myths about fat.
Myth #1: All Fats are Innately Unhealthy
“Bad fats” include artificial trans fats created through hydrogenation, which make oils solid to prevent them from spoiling. You can find trans fats in many fried foods, packaged baked goods, packaged chips and snacks, processed spreads, and dairy products. It is responsible for raising “bad” LDL cholesterol and lowering “good” HDL cholesterol.
Apart from trans fats, there are also saturated fats that aren’t as bad as the former but should be consumed in moderation to avoid adverse side effects. You’ll fund saturated fats in dairy, red meat, butter, and ice cream.
Your body cannot create good fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—you need to consume them as a part of your diet. These fats have molecular structures that keep them liquid at room temperature.
Monounsaturated fats abound in olive oil, peanut oil, and nuts, while polyunsaturated fats come from sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, fatty fish, soymilk, and tofu. These “good fats” may be responsible for lowering bad cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Triglycerides are another word for fats that you consume from food. Trans fats and saturated fats are long-chain triglycerides (also known as long-chain fatty acids), which are slowly absorbed by the body in the form of glucose, while excess fats are stored away in fat cells.
Medium-chain triglycerides are small and thus absorbed by the body quicker. You may have heard of MCT oil for keto dieters; it contains medium-chain triglycerides or healthy fats for quick absorption by the body to trigger ketosis and fat burn.
Myth #2: Eating More Fat Always Leads to Weight Gain
Research indicates that people who eat a high-fat or moderate-fat diet lose the same weight as those who follow low-fat diets. The issue isn’t always what you’re eating, but how much you’re eating. Fats may be higher in calories than proteins or carbohydrates, but foods like nuts, sunflower seeds, avocados and olive oil provide a feeling of satiety or fullness. Carbohydrates are often absorbed by the body in the form of glucose and may give temporary fullness while storing away excess fat deposits.
Myth #3: Consuming Fat Directly Raises Blood Sugar
Many people think that eating fats raises blood sugar, but this isn’t true. It’s carbohydrates that are often responsible for increasing blood glucose levels and may cause insulin resistance. Carbohydrates can be replaced by good fats to prevent blood sugar levels from rising. Regularly consuming unsaturated fats, along with protein and fiber, may help control and stabilize blood sugar levels and control diabetes symptoms.
Myth #4: Fat-free Foods are Always Better For You
Many things can happen to your body if you cut out fat from your diet. You may find many packaged items that claim to be fat-free or diet-friendly, but they may not always be healthy.
Fat-free food often contains high amounts of sugar, and this is instantly converted by your body into glucose and stored away. Cutting out fats from your diet may cause unstable blood sugar levels, induce cravings, and may often leave you tired and hungry throughout the day. Apart from this, you may also eat more carbs to keep yourself full, and your exercise performance levels may suffer.
Myth #5: Consuming Fat Directly Raises Blood Cholesterol
Bad fats, such as trans fats and saturated fats, are responsible for raising harmful cholesterol levels and lowering good cholesterol. However, research indicates that good fats, such as polyunsaturated fats, may reduce LDL and regulate cholesterol levels. Moreover, healthy fats can keep you feeling full since they maintain their atom composition regardless of the temperature and treatment.
Revaluate Your Relationship with Fat
If you’re hoping to lose weight or wanting to stay healthy, adding healthy fats to your diet may be able to give you the results you seek. Your body needs to have a source of energy, and if you can use fat as fuel, you may be able to restrict carbs. However, it is equally essential that you choose healthy fats, evaluate your diet, and create restrictions wherever necessary, to achieve the desired results.