5 Fatty Foods That Are Good for You

Friday, 11 Jul 2014 09:24 AM

By Nick Tate

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For decades, health experts have advised cutting back on dietary fat and choosing low-fat and fat-free foods to lose weight and boost overall health. Since the 1970s, nutritionists have suggested that the best way to avoid being fat was to simply avoid eating fat.
 
But it turns out that's not entirely true. In fact, the latest nutritional studies show that fat is not the great dietary evil we've been led to believe it is. What's more, new research indicates not all fats are created equal; some are even good for us. And the real culprits in the nation's ever-expanding waistline are sugary, high-carb, refined processed foods — many of which carry reduced-fat labels.
 
Richard Stein, M.D, a cardiologist with New York University Langone Medical Center, tells Newsmax TV there are certain fats that we should avoid, of course — such as artery-clogging trans fats in baked goods and those in deep-fried foods. But it's also true that some fatty foods are essential to our health, such as the staples of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, including olive oil, nuts, and fish.
 
"Clearly fats like in fish oil and in vegetable fats and nuts are fats that are not thought to promote atherosclerosis or heart disease [and] in fact they are felt to be protective in some regard," says Dr. Stein.

Editor's Note:
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He also notes that even the kind of saturated fat that’s in butter, dairy products, poultry, and meat isn't as big a problem as once believed, in terms of cardiovascular risks.
 
"Fats that are saturated fats — [as] in animal fats [and] in whole milk — were traditionally thought to be a bad fat," he tells Newsmax TV’s Meet the Doctors. "[But] we're beginning to understand that area between good fats and bad fats is becoming very blurred, and small amounts of appropriate fats from milk, small amounts of appropriate fats from meat and from fowl are absolutely part of a heart-healthy diet."
 
Yet at the same time, many of the low-fat foods that have been pushed as healthy alternatives to fatty foods are being consumed in ever-larger amounts and contributing to the nation’s obesity crisis, with nearly two out of three Americans now considered clinically obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
"I think what we've learned from the last 15 years where we've taken fat out of many of the foods and provided fat-free versions of it — skim milk, yogurts, and things like that – that actually what we've done is by taking fat out of diets we've actually increased calories and America has gotten very fat on a low-fat diet," he says. "And the incidence of heart disease has not gone down and the precursors of heart disease, like diabetes and high blood pressure, have actually gone up."
 
Meanwhile, he notes, Americans are consuming more total calories — about 500 more per day, on average — than two decades ago, and getting too little exercise to burn off those extra calories.
 
While the changing view of dietary fat may be confusing to many Americans, Dr. Stein suggests what we need to be doing is focusing more on the foods we should be eating and less on the foods we should avoid.
 
"I think now what is going to replace the good-fats-bad-fats concept has been not what you don't eat, but what you do eat. And what you should be eating is a lot of fruits and vegetables, a lot of nuts, [and] more whole grain than processed grain," he says. "Chewing a toasted piece of white bread will get more sugar into your bloodstream quicker than will actually [eating] a teaspoon of sugar."
 
Dr. Stein identifies five healthy fats that do not pose significant health risks for most people, when consumed in moderation, and some are even essential to our health:
 
Fish: Polyunsaturated fats, or "good" omega-3 fatty acids — such those found in fatty fish like salmon and fish oil supplements — are healthy nutrients that have been shown in many studies to lower the risk for heart disease, boost brain function, and may even ease arthritis symptoms and help prevent dementia. 
 
Nuts: Natural fatty acids in tree nuts have been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. A just-published Canadian study in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases by researchers with the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital found that incorporating about two ounces of tree nuts — almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, macadamias, walnuts, and peanuts — into the diet of people with diabetes helped boost their heart health. 
 
Dairy products: Moderate amounts of saturated fat in butter, milk, and cheese don't clog arteries and may even be beneficial in moderate amounts. Scientists once believed saturated fat raised levels of dangerous cholesterol in the blood. But the latest research shows there are two different kinds of cholesterol particles — small and dense (the kind linked to heart disease) and large and fluffy (which don't pose a risk). Saturated fat in dairy foods and other animal products raises the level of larger particles that are not harmful, but refined carbohydrates boost levels of smaller, more dangerous cholesterol particles. 
 
Vegetable oils: Olive oil and other vegetable-based fats — such as canola and palm oils — are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid also found in walnuts and avocados. Recent research by the University of Toronto found that switching to a diet low in simple sugars and high in healthy fatty oils can help people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar, and lower their heart disease risks.
 
Meat, poultry, pork: All animal fats were once demonized as unhealthy, but the latest research shows that, in moderate amounts, certain cuts of meat, poultry, and pork are healthy sources of high-quality protein and nutrients, despite their fat content. Like dairy products, they also contain types of fats that won't significantly raise your heart risks, but will leave you feeling full longer than carbs (and less likely to chow down on unhealthy snacks). And if you think chicken or pork are always a healthier alternative to meat, consider this fact: Almost half of the fat in beef is oleic acid — the same heart-healthy fat found in olive oil — and it also contains important nutrients such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins. And new research out of Penn State has found that, contrary to popular belief, eating lean beef daily can actually reduce heart disease risks by lowering blood pressure.

Editor's Note:
8 Popular Foods Are Drenched in Cancer-Causing Chemicals


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