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The Modern View of Fats
The focus on lowering fat consumption began when obesity was on the rise in America. Health experts stressed about the importance of avoiding foods high in fat (especially saturated fat) and recommended the use of margarine and low fat dairies into our diet. Most Americans now choose to drink low-fat milk or eat fat-free food. Yet obesity is still a major problem in America, while other countries that consume foods high in fats (like the French) have lower rates of chronic disease than America.
You may have heard of the lipid hypothesis - the theory that saturated fats and cholesterol in our food raise cholesterol levels in the blood, leading to heart disease. If it's true that eating saturated fat causes heart disease and weight gain, then logically we will see a decline in heart disease and obesity level if we eliminate those fats. But this did not happen. The rate of obesity and occurrence of heart disease is still on the rise even though we are eating low-fat foods and avoiding saturated fats. Many studies contradict this lipid hypothesis theory. They imply that refined grains and sugars (especially high fructose corn syrup), not saturated fats, as the cause of obesity, and vegetable oils and trans fats as key factors in heart disease. So why do people still believe in the lipid hypothesis despite many contradictions to the theory? An example is by considering how this has helped a number of industries. The pharmaceutical industry can now sell cholesterol-lowering drugs, which today is a multibillion-dollar business. The food industry can now justify the use of cheap vegetable oils in processed foods, rather than the more expensive coconut oil and animal fats. Politics also play a role in why this theory still rules. It's unfortunate.
In this series about fats, we will learn about the different types of fats, the good fats and bad fats, and why good fats are important for our body.
Do you know that overweight people can still be undernourished and fat-deprived? Even if you are not overweight, you may suffer from dietary fat deficiency such as low energy, fatigue, food cravings, hormonal imbalances, and depression. Avoiding healthy fats are not good as our body needs fats to function properly. Eating healthy fats make you feel satiated - a feeling that you have eaten enough without denying yourself and you won't even want to overeat empty calories such as sodas, chips, or sugary snacks, as your body already has the healthy fats it needs.
In the next part of our series, we will learn about the different types of fats and why trans fat is bad for us.
Who do you think consume more fats - the older or the younger generations?