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Article 2 (Nov 2017): Experts say nothing wrong with most fat

November 29, 2017
It is just possible that the fat-free movement made us fat and unhealthy.  Recent research shows that not all fat is bad and the movement to go fat-free threw out good fats along with bad ones.
 
When all fat is removed from a product, something has to take its place and that is usually carbohydrates in the form of sugars. And, along the way, good fats are eliminated.  In fact, not all nutritional fat, which has zero carbohydrates, is bad.  According to the Harvard Medical School Health letter, healthy fats are an essential part of how the human body functions as they provide energy, build cell membranes, sheath nerves, and aid in blood clotting and muscle movement.
 
The most harmful fats are trans fats, which have been increasingly phased out of food products. These fats are created through a human-made process that keeps the fat solid at room temperature and allows it to be used in food such as solid margarines and fast food french fries. Trans fat has been found to increase harmful LDL cholesterol while reducing beneficial HDL cholesterol. It has also been linked to inflammation, increasing the risk of heart disease and strokes as well as insulin resistance, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
 
Saturated fat, the type found in red meat and whole milk, is not necessarily bad for you but it can drive up total cholesterol and create more harmful LDL cholesterol.  According to Harvard, a meta-analysis of 21 studies found there was not enough evidence to conclude that "saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease, but that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may indeed reduce risk of heart disease." In addition, two other major studies found that replacing saturated fat with highly processed carbohydrates actually increased the risk of heart disease, according to Harvard.
 
The healthiest fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are liquid at room temperature and can be found in such foods as olives, peanuts, avocados, nuts, and vegetable oils like corn and sunflower. Monounsaturated fats gained fame when it was discovered that the so-called "Mediterranean diet" in countries like Greece produced low levels of heart disease even when people were eating large quantities of fat.  Polyunsaturated fats are called essential fats because the body needs them, but can't make them. These fats have to come from food.
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