Low fat diets have been advocated for several decades now in the United States. Despite lowering fat in their diets, Americans do not seem to be getting any healthier. In fact, obesity rates are now at an all time high. The main reason for the failure of low fat diets is that Americans have replaced fat with processed, simple carbohydrates. (Remember Snackwell cookies. People felt they could eat unlimited amounts because they were fat free!) Increasing the amounts of sugar and simple carbs in the diet leads to increased insulin levels. As discussed in previous articles, increased insulin leads to obesity and increased inflammation levels. Increased inflammation leads to an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke and cancer. The goal should be to reduce inflammation levels. Just as there are good and bad carbs, there are good and bad fats. Omega 3 fats are the healthiest. Omega 3 fats, which are found in fish such as salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts reduce inflammation, keep your blood from clotting excessively, maintain the fluidity of cell membranes, lower the amount of lipids circulating in the bloodstream, prevent excessive blood clotting, inhibit thickening of the arteries, and cause arteries to relax and dilate. Any diet shown to promote good health, including the Mediterranean diet and the Okinawan diet, are loaded with Omega 3’s. Monounsaturated fats are also healthy. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes. Olive oil and avocados are major sources of monounsaturated fat. The majority of fat in your diet should be omega 3 and monounsaturated fats. On the other hand, Omega 6 fats (corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil) should be avoided, as they are pro-inflammatory. Saturated fat (found in meat and dairy products) also tends to be pro-inflammatory – especially if the animals were grain fed. (Pasture raised or wild animal products tend to be healthier). Finally, trans fat is the deadliest. It is imperative to avoid any food product that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Overall, any diet that excludes one the major macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) just doesn’t work. A healthy diet should be loaded with a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods. This type of diet will ultimately include all 3 macronutrients.