How to Tell Good Fats from Bad Fats

Good Fats versus Bad fats - Saturated Fat

Dietary guidelines, do they confuse you? How much protein should we eat? What about carbohydrates? Should we eat them at all?

If your blood type is O, do you eat differently to your partner whose blood type is AB? If there's a more confusing and contradictory issue than human nutrition, I have yet to find it. But scientific literature on the subject of diet and nutrition is so conflicting that you start to question the value of anything you read. You take time to study, say, four articles on diet and you get four totally different opinions written by authors with lots of impressive initials after their names.

Let's Look at Fats.

What a maligned character is that of poor fat. The no-fat diet was huge in the 1970s (I'm quietly confident that this could be a direct contributor to the huge surge in brain disorders like Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's that we see today). This diet is making a pretty reasonable comeback in Generation Now.

People avoid fat like a Scandinavian backpacker in a shopping mall collecting money for Greenpeace. But this avoidance of a substance we need in fairly reasonable amounts (20-30 per cent of our daily caloric intake) in our diet is not only unhealthy but also pointless, as the liver converts carbohydrate to fat very simply and very quickly.

A close relative of fat, cholesterol, is even more despised. But did you know that human breast milk has a higher proportion of cholesterol than any other food? It's also 50 per cent fat, most of which is saturated.

What is Saturated Fat Good for?

Saturated fat has a number of benefits including:

  • Saturated fat makes up 50% of all cell membranes, so it is essential for the health of all cells in your body.

  • It protects the liver from alcohol and other toxins.

  • Saturated fat has antimicrobial properties in the digestive tract.

  • Saturated fat has an immune function in the body.

  • Saturated fat enhances essential fatty acid utilisation.

What about cholesterol?

  • Cholesterol is essential for sex hormone production and corticosteroids that help the body deal with stress and protect against heart disease and cancer.

  • Cholesterol is also essential for Vitamin D production. This in turn supports bone and nervous system health, growth, metabolism, muscle tone, insulin production, reproduction, immunity, digestion, and serotonin production.

To add to this, fat (good fat that is) in general is an anti-inflammatory and makes up the myelin sheath that covers your brain, spinal cord and nervous system.

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicates that people who eat saturated fat do not experience more cardiovascular disease than those who eat less.

So what's the dietary take home message? We must increase our intake of good fats, ie coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, fish oils, etc. As long as the oil is pure, extra virgin and cold pressed it will be nutritionally beneficial. Remember the only oil you can cook with is coconut oil or butter.

All other oils are destroyed by heat. Eggs (organic) are a wonder food and should be eaten with confidence.

The same goes for organic butter. Trans-fats should be banned for human consumption (animal consumption too for that matter).

But what if your doctor says you should cut out saturated fats and cholesterol from your diet? Is that right? Are they sure? Before you believe them, just take a closer look at your doctor'.

So, the next time you're chatting to someone & the conversion turns to diets, start talking about good fat if you need to cover a few of your own pounds hanging over your belt!

Brett Smith is not your average health and online dating expert. He has some interesting and controversial views on health for singles.

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