Most people automatically assume that fat is evil. After all, fat is the reason that so many people around the world are unable to fit into their clothing, right? This has lead to hundreds of companies that now market “fat free” food, beverages, snacks, and everything in between. Unfortunately, what many doctors and scientists are finding is that it’s not the amount of fat that is consumed, but rather the type of fat.
Not all fat is created equal. Saturated fat, such as the kind found in hamburgers, bacon, French fries, and other fast food type meals, are loaded with high levels of saturated fat. When too much saturated fat is consumed, it can result in high blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight gain. These unhealthy foods also increase the odds of the eater becoming dietetic later in their lifetime.
The real problem with saturated fat however, is generated by pairing it with high carbohydrate foodstuffs such as starchy grains (which are quickly converted to sugars, and also have chemical compounds that inflame and irritate our bodies) and refined sugars. The combination of high blood sugar and saturated fat seems to be the cause of the particular form of LDL cholesterol that is most dangerous to us, as the chemical reaction that happens breaks down the cholesterol generated from saturated fat, and makes it easier for it to get stuck in the tiny lesions we all accumulate on our arteries as we get older, contributing to the plaque build up that can eventually lead to heart attacks, stokes, and general bad circulation and health.
On the other hand, good fat, like the kind found in fish, nuts, leafy vegetables, and avocados, are actually helpful to the body. In fact, studies have shown that good fat may even help combat the negative side effects of bad fat. For example, while eating unhealthy levels of saturated fat may increase cholesterol, consuming good fat will help to increase HDL, better known as good cholesterol. When high levels of HDL are consumed, it can lower or even reverse bad LDL cholesterol.
Good and bad fats may go beyond just lowering cholesterol though. Since foods that are rich in ‘good fats’ also contain a high level of nutrition, they help the consumer to shed unwanted weight from better hormonal and metabolic efficieny. This means that it’s possible to shed unwanted fat simply by increasing the levels of good fat that is consumed on a daily basis.
The reasoning behind this is simple. When people consume saturated fat, it provides little to no nutritional value. The reason these items are called ‘junk food’ is because they’re just that, junk. They’re also loaded with hundreds of extra calories due to how they’re cooked. Even worse, junk food does a poor job of filling people up due to the lack of nutrition and spiking of blood sugars (with the resulting sugar crash). This, paired with the high calories, leads to obesity.
On the other hand, foods that are packed with good fat also contain vitamins and minerals that the body needs. These foods are considered higher quality which the body thrives on. Since these foods contain a high level of nutrition, they do a much better job at quenching hunger while also containing far less calories. Good fat also turns into energy, builds muscles, and help to absorb key vitamins.
Another way to think of it is that all bodies need fat. Without it, the person won’t have the energy or strength to do everyday activities. To reach the recommended fat intake level, people can either consume saturated fat that collects around the hips, or good fat which turns to energy and helps to shed bad fat.
While calories do play a large role in how much weight a person gains, studies have shown that those who eat good fats can eat far more calories without gaining weight then those who consume bad fat. This leads experts to believe that obesity and weight loss is more about the quality of food than the quantity.