This article was originally written by Brian Stewart
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When I hear the word fat I usually think of a roll of it hanging over a persons belt, or that guy Milty, from the movie Van Wilder, doing a belly flop off of the top diving platform with the words, “save the swim team”, written across his backside. Sometimes, however, the picture of a big, juicy, double quarter pounder with cheese will slip its way into my mind. Although, if I were to eat more than the one per month that I allow myself now I would probably be sick for days, thanks to the health food lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to over the past few years. For the most part, the word fat has a negative connotation.
Like a lot of people, I like to avoid fat. We’ve been warned against it for years. There’s even an entire industry that promotes the idea that fat is horrible. Just take a walk down almost any isle in a grocery store and you’ll see a parade of items labeled “low-fat”, “no fat”, “reduced fat”, or “fat-free”. Doctors, dieticians, and nutritionists have been on our cases about it for what seems like an eternity.
There are numerous studies showing that although Americans today are consuming less fat, there are more of us than ever who are becoming obese. What this should tell you is that worrying only about fat is not the answer. There are many other pieces to the puzzle. For instance, eating more carbohydrates that you use for energy throughout the day will cause the remaining carbs to be stored and therefore turned into fat. A couple other reasons are lack of exercise in our society, and the fact that we’re consuming more calories than ever. I’ve heard it called the no-fats domino theory: Less fat equals less guilt equals more eating.
The amount of fat we eat is important. Only about 25-30% of our daily calories should come from fat. But, perhaps even more important is the type of fat we eat. This is what really determines your heart attack risk. Yes there is such a thing as good fat. There names are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. You can find them in oils such as olive oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil. Some of the healthy fat foods include natural peanut butter, almonds and other nuts, almond butter, oatmeal, and fish (salmon, orange roughy, tuna, and tilapia). That’s right these are all loaded with fat and they’re good for you. Some are even so good they’re called “essential” fatty acids.