THE 8 BIGGEST LIES ABOUT FAT
1. FALSE: ALL FATS ARE EQUAL
TRUE: Some fats are good and others bad. The mono and polyunsaturated fats may help to protect us against diseases and to enhance the athletic performance: saturated and trans fats are accumulated in the arteries and hide the abdominals. When we replace them in our diet with mono and polyunsaturated fats, total cholesterol and triglycerides are reduced and the HDL cholesterol rises -the healthy and positive-, thus decreasing the risk of suffering cardiovascular problems. Also the sensibility to insulin and the blood pressure improve, minimizing the risk of diabetes and hypertension. The excess of saturated and trans body fats in the diet promotes cardiac diseases, diabetes, certain types of cancer and obesity. They also increase the level of LDL cholesterol (the bad and negative), triglycerides and reactive protein-C (a measure of inflammation). To determine the different types of fat that may be included in the diet, read attentively ‘fat chewing’ below. The values are based on a 3.000 daily calories diet.
2. FALSE: FATS ONLY CONTAIN CALORIES
TRUE: The fat, as proteins and carbohydrates, is an essential macronutrient, which means it is necessary in major quantities than the micronutrients as vitamins C and E and Iron.
The fat on the diet is the only mean the body has to get two essential fatty acids: linoleic acid and linolenic acid, which contribute the hormonal production and the maintenance of the immunological system. Essential fats also make easier the muscular development and the reduction of accumulated fat. To consume the adequate amounts of fat favours the production of testosterone. In addition, the fat helps the digestion and absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K and of hundreds of beneficial carotenoids- lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, etc- which are found in fruits and vegetables. Recent studies show that eating salads using defatted condiments may prevent the organism from absorbing the beneficial fitonutrients.
3. FALSE: FAT TURNS YOU INTO AN OBESE
TRUE: Consuming too many calories makes you fat. Period. Since fat contains about more than the double of calories than the proteins and carbohydrates, it is easier to take more calories proceeding from the fat than from the other two macronutrients. However, a report from the USA Centre for Control and Prevention of Disease assures that despite calories proceeding from the fat in the Americans’ diet were reduced from 37% in 1964 to 33% in 1994, obesity has increased in that period from 14.5% to 31%!. Studies show that adding to the diet certain mono and polyunsaturated fats highly combustible, the lost of weight is increased. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, says: ‘Consuming more calories and fat helps to increase the metabolic speed, and the omega-3 fatty acids may be useful for the body to burn fat in the abdominal area, internal and external’.
4. FALSE: LEADERS OF PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMEND A LOW FAT DIET
TRUE: In the past, health organizations considered the fat as the number 1 public enemy, but now they don’t. Why? Investigation suggests that high fat diets, similar to the traditional Mediterranean foods, are healthier than the low fat diets. As a result, the Dietetic Guides USA 2005 recommends a daily intake of fat between the 20% and 35% of the caloric total. This does not mean a license to eat bacon and fried eggs, but an emphasis on healthy fats, as the mono and polyunsaturated.
5. FALSE: FAT IS NOT IMPORTANT FOR THE MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT
TRUE: Recent studies indicate that mono and polyunsaturated fats are better used as muscular fuel than saturated and trans fats. The research suggests that diets containing healthy fats may help save muscular glycogen and to increase muscle endurance time.
Mono and polyunsaturated fats also help the control of muscular inflammation, which may be useful on the post-exercise recovery. Kleiner says: ‘Omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for the transmission of nerve signals and the communication between brain cells. Without its presence, we loose mental sharpness and we cannot focus on what we are doing’.
6. FALSE: WE CANNOT KNOW THE QUANTITY OF TRANS FATS EXISTING IN FOOD
TRUE: Approximately the 80% of the trans fats in our diet proceed from processed foods, especially baked products and candies. Due to the consumers’ and health organisations’ pressure, many food companies have reformulated its products trying to eliminate the trans fats. To better know what we eat, we can sum the mono and polyunsaturated fats grams showed on the label; if the figure is lower that the total fat grams, the rest are trans fats.
7. FALSE: OILS ARE THE MAIN SOURCE OF THE DIETRY FAT
TRUE: The 30% of the consumed fat proceeds from the meat, fish and birds: the 28% from cereals and nuts; the 13% from milk products. Only the 10% of the daily intake of fats proceeds from liquids or semisolids: oils, butters and margarines.
8. FALSE: ALL SATURATED FATS ARE BAD
TRUE: We all need to add some saturated fats in our diet to favour the hormonal production, especially testosterone. Studies show that people who take great quantities of saturated fats tend to have higher levels of testosterone. Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are a type of saturated fat particularly beneficent. They abound in the coconut oil and butter. Some supplement companies produce MCT or add it to its powder proteins. The MCT are saturated triglycerides which have shorter fatty acids chains than the long triglycerides chains found in normal diets, a singular property which allows to add muscular mass and keep slender. The basic benefit of MCT is its metabolic route. It is not accumulated in the body, and is usually used as fuel. When decomposed to be used, it forms ketone bodies which help prevent the decomposition of muscle and provide a better development.
MCT accelerate the metabolism and enhance the use of accumulated fat as fuel. Some studies suggest that MCT supplements boost the use of protein for the body, a fact that can favour the development of muscles. New researches have discovered that the MCT may benefit the immunological system. Try adding 1 to 2 spoons of MCT oil to your foods 1 to 4 times a day, starting with a low dose to avoid intestinal nuisances. If you have diabetes or stomach problems, ask your doctor before.
Where the different types of fats are located and how much you have to eat.
» MONOUNSATURATED FATS
Sources: Olive oils, peanut and canola; nuts and avocados
Recommended consumption: 10 to 15% of the caloric total
Daily intake: 33 to 50 grams
» POLYUNSATURATED FATS
Sources: Sunflowers oils, sesame, soy, and butters and margarines made with those oils: nuts and seeds, cold water fishes: salmon, tuna, sardines, etc., canola and flaxseed oils.
Recommended consumption: 5 to 10% of the caloric total
Daily intake: 17 to 33 grams
» SATURATED FATS
Sources: Meat, birds, butter, cheese, cream, whole milk, coconut and palm oils, processed foods as fried potatoes, cookies, baked products, etc.
Recommended consumption: No more than 10% of the daily caloric total
Daily intake: No more than 33 grams
» TRANS FATS
Sources: Margarine, fried foods, fast foods, chocolates, etc.
Recommended consumption: The fewer possible
Daily intake: No more than 5 grams