Fat Myths: The Misleading Meaning of the “Fat Free” LabelOctober 01, 2015
Does It Have a Fat Free Label? It’s Probably Bad for You
A few years ago I would only reach for boxes at the grocery store that said either low fat or fat free because it felt like I was eating healthier. Little did I know that fat is essential to a healthy and complete diet, but the problem is that it has the worst reputation. Here are some common myths about fat that most people still think are true.
Myth 1: If I eat fat I will get fat
Not only is this not true, it can cause you to fall into eating habits that will cause further weight gain. Cutting fat out of your diet means you are most likely consuming more carbohydrates to compensate. Over indulgence in carbohydrates is often the culprit for most people around the world for unwanted weight gain. Some example foods that may seem healthier because they are fat free are cold cereals, breakfast bars, granola bars, yogurts, or fat free cream cheese.
Myth 2: Fatty foods will give me a heart attack
This can be true to a certain extent because this myth lumps all fat in the same category. The truth is there are certain fats that are better than others. If you look on any label, you should look out for saturated fats or trans fats as the heart killer culprits. What you need to search for is the less known monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats which actually help keep your heart beating healthy. One major benefit of unsaturated fats is they help your body improve your cholesterol profile by increasing HDL levels (good cholesterol) instead of LDL levels (bad cholesterol). Foods with good sources of fat are avocadoes, nuts, raw nut butters and oils such as olive and grape seed oil.
Myth 3: The less fat there is the healthier
Foods that have fat taken out usually have to compensate for a decrease in taste quality. To make them taste better, food companies usually turn to sugar to boost their appeal. Overindulgence in sugar especially if they are hidden in seemingly healthy foods has been closely linked to serious health issues like diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver. Another problem is sugar burns really quickly in the body and you get hungry sooner. Fats give the body a sense of fullness and you will feel more satisfied for longer periods of time. Adding healthy fats to your meals prevent overeating and dangerous snacking.
By no measure does this mean you should go out and start only eating fatty foods. The current recommendation for a healthy diet is receiving about 30% of your daily calories from fat. What you need to remember is focus on cutting out saturated fats and trans fats as much as possible and replacing them with good sources of unsaturated fats for a healthier you.