These days, nutrition advice is constantly streaming from the media. We bounce from one trend to another never knowing what to believe and how long a particular fad diet will last. It's certainly a confusing ride!
The low fat craze dates back to the late 1980s, when a popular cookie by Snackwell took center stage as a “health food”. The Snackwell cookie was advertised as "low-fat", but what we consumers failed to notice was that, calorie-wise, it was identical to the original. Snackwell had merely replaced fat with sugar.
This trend continues today with a plethora of low-fat & fat free products lining grocery store shelves. We reach for low-fat thinking it's healthier for us, but is trading vegetable oil for high fructose corn syrup and other highly processed ingredients really healthy? I'll let you answer that question yourself, but allow me to make a case for the supernutrient that doesn't get the spotlight it deserves: fat.
Fat is an essential nutrient. Not only does it offer good insulation and cushion, but it is essential for hormone production, brain function & forms the outer layer of every cell in the body. Fat eaten does not necessarily equal fat stored. Consuming too many calories (not just those from fat) results in excess fat storage. The best way to avoid storing fat is to stay active and eat small portions.
Not all fat is created equal. As a general rule of thumb, eat fat from plants & fish, not land animals. These mono- and poly-unsaturated fats can help to lower cholesterol & triglycerides, thus protecting us from conditions like heart attack or stroke.
So remember, a small amount of fat is good for you, especially if it comes from plants or fish. If you're choosing a packaged food, look for the presence of mono- & poly-unsaturated fats and little to no trans or saturated fats.
Here are some great ways to incorporate healthy fats into your diet:
• Use avocado in place of mayonnaise on a sandwich
• Spread a thin layer of peanut or almond butter on toast in place of regular butter
• Choose a vinaigrette over saturated-fat-rich dressings like ranch, blue cheese & Caesar
• Eat 1/4 cup of nuts or seeds as a snack
• Mix 1 teaspoon of flax seeds into a bowl of oatmeal
• Choose a healthy cooking oil like canola or safflower for everyday cooking
Please feel free to leave a comment for Gabby Guidry, your Pinnacle dietitian!
Added on 05/31/2011
Nutrition by The Lyons' Share-Our Blog
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