What’s the skinny on good fats, health, and diet?

Some body and dietary fats are good for you, really!You need them in your diet for health! The good-guy fats are good news!

What’s the Skinny on Good Fats?

By RB McLean

The good news is that fats do not have to disappear from your diet forever. Some body and dietary fats are really good for you! You need them in your diet for health! The good-guy fats are good news!!! The Good-Guy Fats

The editors of Prevention Magazine in Food and Nutrition, one of a series of health books write, "The two types of unsaturated fat, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, are usually found in plants and fish. Research suggest that these unsaturated fats,, particularly omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, may help lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent heart attacks."

Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and come from vegetables, nuts or seeds such as corn, soybeans and sunflower seeds. Polyunsaturated fats may lower total blood cholesterol. However, in doing so, they may also reduce HDLs.

Monounsaturated fats are found mostly in vegetable and nut oils such as olive, peanut, and canola. Monounsaturated fats appear to reduce blood levels of the bad guy LDLs without affecting the guys in white hats, the HDLs.

Does this mean we should forsake all other fats and guzzle down the olive oil.

Well, not exactly.

According to the book The Yale Guide to Children’s Nutrition, William V. Tamborlane, M.D., Editor, polyunsaturated fats are essential in the diet because the body can not make them. The authors write, "The major polyunsaturated fatty acids are linoleic and linolenic. Linoleic acid intake must be at least 2 percent of calories to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency."

The editors of Prevention Magazine also write in Food and Nutrition, "While there is no established RDA for fats, there are essential fatty acids that your body can’t produce and that you must get from your diet. Of these, linoleic acid is the most important. Found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds, this polyunsaturated fat is important for growth and development as well as the production of hormonelike substances that regulate blood pressure."

"Ah ha," you think, "There it is again. If polyunsaturated fat is good, I should eat a lot of it." Read this from the above book first, "However a diet that is too high in polyunsaturated fat (more than 10 percent of daily calories) can suppress the production of desirable HDL. LDL levels are also improved when saturated fat is replaced with monounsaturated fat. In addition, monounsaturated fats do not negatively influence HDL values."

They also conclude that Americans eat so much fat in general that essential fatty acid deficiencies are extremely rare. The book goes on to say that monounsaturated fats may be better than polyunsaturated fats when a fat is called for in the diet, assuming, of course, you eat at least 2% of your calories in polyunsaturated fats.

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