It seems that Americans are obsessed with fats. You could even say that since 1976, Americans have been afraid of them.
In the 70s, the United States Senate became concerned when several of its members dropped dead from heart attacks. These deaths led the Senate to look into the American diet. The cause of rising obesity was soon declared to be the fat Americans were consuming. The solution? “Fat is bad, carbs are good.
“And the food industry saw the low-fat, high-carb mantra as an opportunity to create a whole new range of products. Fat-free frozen yogurt, fat-free muffins and cookies — the formula was: Take out the fat; add lots of sugar.”
We became so obsessed with our food being fat-free that we didn’t pay any attention to what was still in the food we were eating. And what was in our food? Lots of carbs and sugar.
The fact of the matter is, fats are necessary in a well-rounded diet. They’re considered a macronutrient, meaning we need them in relatively large amounts in order to maintain our health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, adults should consume 20% to 35% of their daily calories from fat.
Here are the benefits of eating fat, also according to the Cleveland Clinic:
- Fat is a source of energy
- Fat is a source of essential fatty acids that our bodies cannot make
- Fat is a necessary component of cell walls
- It gives us a way to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K
- Fat allows us to both insulate our bodies and protect organs
Hopefully I’ve managed to convince you that fat is far from being evil. There are, however, different kinds of fat, which should be incorporated into your diet in different amounts.
Fats to avoid: Both saturated and trans fat should be limited in your diet, because they can raise cholesterol levels, which can result in cardiovascular diseases.
Fats to consume in moderation: Monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and Omega-3 fatty acids have not been found to raise cholesterol levels.
As always, consult your physician if you have questions about changing your diet.