8 Myths About Fat That Must Be Busted
Most people don’t like the word fat. We associate it with body image issues, societal expectations, poor health and other negative things. But fat means and is so much more than the traits we attribute to it. Our body needs fat. Our tissues contain fatty parts that are essential. We need fatty acids in our body. If we removed fat from all areas of life, we would die! So it’s unfortunate that fat has become a thing we feel we need to avoid, eliminate, burn, remove and run from. And it’s just these beliefs that many manufacturers of weight loss products, foods and workout DVDs profit from (dishonestly). So let’s get the facts about fat straight. Here are myths about fat, debunked.
Myth: People who follow low-fat diets aren’t fat
A lot of fad diets of the late 90s and early 2000s recommended avoiding fat as much as possible. So one would think that, around this time, people became less fat.
Fact: It drove people to carbs
Obesity and diabetes actually increased around the time of these diets. When people try to avoid fats, they usually turn to carbs. And they eliminate foods that can help them lose weight, like egg yolks and peanut butter. These foods can fill a person up in very small portions, which is better than filling up on low-fat pasta.
Myth: These oils are good for you
Soybean oil, corn-based oil, and anything that says “vegetable” on the label. Many people believe these are better for you than putting butter in your food.
Fact: Use butter
You’re better off using real butter to grease a pan than you are adding these highly processed oils. These are usually loaded with Omega 6 fatty acids and trans fats, and area bad for your heart health.
Myth: Fat calories matter
Nutrition labels usually list the number of total calories and the number of calories from fat. Dieters might favor an item that has no calories from fat, or at least a low number, thinking this makes the food fattening.
Fact: It’s the total calories that count
Your body only knows how many calories you take in and expel each day. That’s how it loses, gains or maintains weight. It doesn’t matter how many calories are from fat. In fact, items with lots of calories from fat (like almond butter) can help you lose weight because they make you feel full on very little.
Myth: Low-fat or non-fat items are good for you
If a company manages to remove the fat from your favorite yogurt or cheese, you might be very excited about that! Now you can eat that “bad” food, and it’s no longer “bad,” right?
Fact: The full-fat version is better
To remove the fat from food, companies need to put that food through a number of artificial processes, injecting it with things that are far worse for you than a little fat.
Myth: Limit all oils as much as possible
If you know that vegetable oil and corn-based oil is bad for you, you might think you should limit all oils, including olive oil. Olive oil is, also, high in calories, which is another reason people try to limit their intake of it.
Fact: Olive oil is good for your heart
Olive oil is good for your heart. A healthy heart makes it easier to do cardio exercises and doing cardio helps you lose weight. So don’t skip this oil.
Myth: Trans fat leads to heart disease
Some people won’t touch a bag of chips or a tiny portion of anything that contains trans fat, like that from hydrogenated oils in fried food. They think any amount of this increases one’s chances of heart disease.
Fact: It’s a mixture of things
If you lead an otherwise very healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, eat healthily and have a very good family medical history, a few chips each week cannot take your heart health down. It’s when you eat these things and smoke, don’t exercise and have a bad medical history that you’re in trouble.
Myth: Countries that eat a lot of fat are fat
Okay, so the American diet contains a lot of trans fats and fats of all kinds. We also are one of the most obese countries in the world. This could lead one to believe that the countries that eat a lot of fat are the fattest.
Fact: The French love fat food
The French love cheese and chocolate. The difference is that they don’t get their fat from as much processed food as Americans do and they limit their portion sizes.
Myth: There are just good fats and bad fats
You likely hear that Omega-3 fats are good for you, and trans fats are bad for you. In fact, you probably hear a lot about “healthy fats and unhealthy fats.”
Fact: It’s far more complex
There are seven types of fats, and they go from healthiest to least healthy in this order: omega-3, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, medium-chain triglycerides, omega-6, trans.