JIMMY RANTS 008: Strategies For Overcoming Your Fear Of Fat
Your Fear Of Fat Has Been Based On A Lie
Starting in 1977, US health officials told Americans to consume less fat in order to prevent heart disease. But according to a new study published in BMJ, even back then, the evidence linking dietary fat to heart trouble was pretty much non-existent.
The UK study authors examined all the research data available to health officials back when those anti-fat guidelines were released. They found "no evidence" that reducing fat consumption to 30% of daily energy intake—as the guidelines recommended—would protect people from heart disease, says study coauthor Zoe Harcombe, a nutrition researcher at the University of the West of Scotland.
In fact, Harcombe says the same health guidelines encouraged people to replace their dietary fat with more carbohydrates. That's pretty bad advice considering low-carb dietshavebeen linked to improved heart health.
Many Americans still associate dietary fat—especially saturated fat—with a bum ticker. The problem: Lots of new studies have linked plenty of fats (including some of the saturated kinds) with health benefits. From cooking oils to peanut butter, fat isn't always bad for you.
Of course, that doesn't mean you should start swallowing fat by the plateful to extend your life and trim your waistline. Fat is complicated. Some man-made types—namely, trans fats—are undoubtedly unhealthy, Harcombe says. So are processed, carb-heavy sources of saturated fat like chips, cookies, cupcakes, and other treats.
But to assume that all dietary fat is bad—especially the kind from lean protein, dairy, and vegetables—is misguided. "Not only do we need to consume foods containing fat, we need to consume quite a lot of them to get the nutrients vital for human health," Harcombe adds.
Your takeaway: there are healthy fats and there are unhealthy fats. If you're eating lots of vegetables, fruit, lean protein, nuts, and other un-processed good stuff, fat isn't likely something you need to worry about when it comes to your heart health.
MORE: 5 Fats You Should Be Eating More Of
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