Should I Cut All Fat Out of My Diet to Lose Weight and Improve My Health?

In one word – No! Fat is an important part of your diet.  There are 3 macro-nutrients in our diet: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The majority of out diet should be carbohydrates (mostly complex, high fiber carbs).  Protein is also an important part of our diet, although most people probably eat much more than they really need. Fat is also an important part of your diet. Just like carbs though, there are good and bad fats. In fact, it is not how much fat you eat that is important, rather it is the types of fat you eat that is critical. As described in earlier posts, the two evil fats are saturated and trans-fats. Saturated fat is converted to the bad cholesterol (LDL) by the liver, which can lead to cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral arterial disease). Saturated fat is found in meat, milk, cheese, eggs, and ice cream. Even worse for you are trans fats. Trans fats raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower your good cholesterol (HDL) – a double whammy! You should avoid trans fats completely. There is no healthy amount you can consume! Look for hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils in ingredient lists for the presence of trans fats (See prior article in archive for more details). Polyunsaturated fats are the healthy fats – especially omega 3 fats. The two main types of polyunsaturated fats are omega 3 & 6. Omega 3 fats are found in fish (such as salmon), flaxseed, walnuts, brazil nuts, and sea vegetables. Most people get enough omega 6 fats, but not enough omega 3. Monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil and canola oil) can also be a healthy part of your diet. The key though, is to use olive oil and canola oil sparingly. Remember all oils are 100% fat. All fats have 9 calories per gram. Therefore, you need to be careful and not over eat fats (especially if you are trying to lose weight). The calories can build up quickly. Nuts and seeds can also be a healthy part of your diet. Remember though, a serving size is a handful. Again the calories can add up quickly. Add a small amount of seeds or nuts to your salads to help your body absorb important fat soluble vitamins from your vegetables. For those who do not like eating fish, fish oil pills or krill oil pills can be used instead. Flaxseed and walnuts are good sources of omega 3 for those who are vegetarian. In conclusion, make sure you avoid saturated and trans-fats in your diet. They lead to disease. Eat a balance and variety of polunsaturated and monounsaturated fats for good health. Just watch your calories!

Author: drjeffgreenberg

Dr Greenberg is a clinical cardiologist who specializes in preventive cardiology, nutrition, exercise, and longevity. He favors using natural methods to improving one's health.

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