Fats – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, by Jill Rudison

Fats tend to be a four-lettered word that is capable of scaring the beejezus out of people by its mere mention. Sadly, the reality is that all fats are NOT created equal, and most fats play important, if not vital roles in our bodies health and functionality. But if you are watching your diet and do not know the differences between your fats, here’s a hard lesson for you to swallow.

Fats come in a multitude of varieties, some of which are healthy…and some of which are unhealthy. Unfortunately, the healthiest fats, animal fats and coconut oil, are saturated, yet natural, and have long been considered a heart attack waiting to happen. Meanwhile, harmful hydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola and corn oil, as well as margarine have mistakenly been billed as “healthy” alternatives to the public.

Sadly, this is the furthest thing from the truth. What most people do not realize is that during the hydrogenation process incredibly harmful trans fats are created. These highly criticized trans fats are so damaging to our health that the US Food and Drug Administration (USDA) is finally debating banning them altogether, while certain states (New York, for example) have already banned sales of food items containing trans fats to American consumers. Pretty incredible considering that the reported damage that they caused began making the rounds all the way back to the 1970’s and became more of a concern when the obesity epidemic didn’t began around 1977. Also during this time a report was published that put the blame on saturated fat and cholesterol, deeming it “harmless”, meanwhile, giving sugar and refined carbs the “OK” and considered them “safe”. When food manufacturers take out fat, they often replace it with carbohydrates from sugar, refined grains, or starch. Our bodies digest these refined carbohydrates and starches very quickly, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to spike and then dip, which in turn leads to hunger, overeating, and weight gain.

Since this initially confusing message was released over 30 years ago,  guidelines have been published and many major studies have been conducted on the low-fat diet and has come up with the surprising conclusion that it is no better at preventing heart disease, obesity or cancer than the standard Western diet, aka lots of fast and processed foods, which is probably as “unhealthy” as a diet can actually get.

Transfats didn’t begin getting the due attention that they deserved until a consensus report was published in 2002 from the National Academies of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, which called the relationship between trans-fat consumption and coronary heart disease “linear,” and further stated that the only acceptable level of trans fats in a diet was zero. A year later, in 2003, the FDA required food processors to list saturated fat as well as their trans-fat levels on nutrition labels.  In 2006, the England Journal of Medicine published an article stating that trans fats were responsible for a whopping 72,000 to 228,000 heart-disease occurrences per year. That’s an astonishingly high number and probably the highest and worst correlation between an unhealthy diet and adverse health effects that exists today.

The conclusion?  Fats are not bad. I repeat. Fats are NOT bad. Fats are a good and necessary part of your diet, if you are consuming the proper ones and in the amount that is sufficient for your body type and health goals. Trans fats however, are NOT something that you want to feed your body. Make sure to read labels and avoid foods that contain trans fats or high levels of saturated fats, as they offer little to NO health benefits and are direct culprits of a multitude of heart-disease illnesses and weight gain. There has never been, nor will there ever be any health benefits that can be derived from ingesting trans fats. Never. Supplement your diet with healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which lower disease risk. Modern Proteins prepared meals offers a wide array of healthy-fat containing foods such as salmon, nuts and healthy oils, all of which are great for heart health, eyes, skin, and hair. Additional benefits of eating such fats also improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation. These healthy fats also help you lose body fat by improving your metabolism, balancing hormones, and eliminating constant cravings. The verdict? Fats for the win!