Sunday, January 24, 2016

Low Fat Diets - Learn About Low Fat Healthy Living

The three key nutrients in our diet are fats, protein and carbohydrates. The villain of the piece has traditionally been fat, as it provides nearly twice as many calories per gram as protein or carbohydrate do. However, fat is an essential nutrient – even the most fit athletes have fatty deposits in their bodies, these are necessary for health and fitness, and help do everything from support the organ system and providing energy for the body to transporting vital nutrients and keeping your skin and hair healthy.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding fat – saturated, unsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats may be difficult to distinguish for the average person, add that to the mix of weight loss programmes promoted in the media and it is easy to get overwhelmed in the mire of low fat, high fibre, complex carbohydrate recommendations flying around.

Traditionally, it was thought that the less fat one ate, the easier weight could be lost and the dieter would also be likely to reduce their cholesterol and general health at the same time. Mounting research shows that for the majority of people, eating a balanced, low-fat diet is beneficial – the surprising recommendation in the research is that people should eat more of some fats, as these promote health and can actively work to lower cholesterol as well.
The long and short of it is, whether you’re aiming to lose weight or not, following a low fat diet has a number of health advantages. For most of us, it is easy to divide the fats in our diet into two groups, ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Below, we’ve tried to explain the differences and give you a few pointers to getting the balance right for your own low fat diet.

Bad fat
A ‘bad’ fat, is a saturated fat. How can you easily spot one? As a general rule, at room temperature, a saturated fat is solid – good examples are animal products, such as butter, cheeses and lard. There are also a few obvious exceptions, such as whole milk which remains liquid at room temperature, and margarine which is a vegetable product. Other foods that contain higher levels of saturated fat include palm and coconut products. Saturated fats are worse for you because they contribute to higher cholesterol, arteriosclerosis and add to the layer of fatty tissue that your body naturally builds up under the skin as insulation. That’s right, saturated fat can make you fatter.

Good fat
‘Good’ fats are called unsaturated fats – these are divided into two groups, monounsaturated fats, which are actually good for you and polyunsaturated fats, which are even better. Monounsaturated fats are primarily found in nuts and seeds. Good examples of monounsaturated fat are single-source oils, such as olive oil, sesame oil and corn oil. Polyunsaturated fats are the best fats – these include the Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids linked closely to everything from lowering the risk of heart disease and increasing brain activity and concentration in school children.

It shouldn’t be surprising that ‘good’ fats are found in good foods – fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts and seeds are all great natural sources of both mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

Healthy low fat diets
In general, you should get no more than one third of your calories from fats – and of those, 10% or less should come from ‘bad’ or saturated fats. Try to get your fat from whole foods, rather than processed foods and the fat you are consuming will be healthier. Also, be sure to read the labels – foods free from ‘transfats’ are generally lower in saturated fats than their competitors on shop shelves.

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