Found on Rodalesorganiclife.com and written by Allison Young
The most vilified food in the American diet isn’t so evil after all.
Fat is back. With coconut oil flying off shelves and meat-eating Paleo diets on the rise, people are embracing what was once a nutritional evil. But just how healthy is the shift toward butter and beef? Turns out (almost) everything we thought we knew about fat is, well, fat wrong. (You can reader more about Healthy Foods That Used To Be Bad For Us.)
MYTH: EATING FAT MAKES YOU FAT
Truth: Fat Can Actually Fill You Up So You Eat Less
“It’s true that fat has more calories per gram than carbs and protein, but eating the right types of fat as part of a healthy, balanced diet does not make you fat,” says Michelle Babb, MS, RD, author of Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy. Fat is slower to digest than carbs and stimulates the release of satiety hormones, which can keep you from overeating. In fact, in one study, participants on a moderate-fat diet dropped four pounds after 18 months while the low-fat group actually gained three pounds. What’s more, fat plays a positive role in the body, from hormone production to optimal brain function, and even helps with nutrient absorption.
MYTH: SATURATED FAT CLOGS ARTERIES + CAUSES HEART ATTACKS
Truth: Research Is Challenging The Notion That Butter + Red Meat Lead To Heart Attacks
For decades we’ve been told that the saturated fat in butter, cheese, and red meat can clog arteries and cause heart attacks. Yet a study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found no link between eating saturated fats and increased risk of heart attacks. One study even found that higher saturated fats were associated with lower risk of heart disease. Experts aren’t exactly saying saturated fat is healthy, just that it’s not a sin. Bottom line: Moderation is key.
MYTH: BUTTER IS BAD
Truth: A Little Butter Isn’t Going To Hurt
Butter gets the seal of approval. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that moderate butter intake can be part of a healthy diet. But this doesn’t give you license to spike your daily coffee with grass-fed butter, slather it on toast, and coat your vegetables with the golden deliciousness. “Don’t overdo it,” warns Babb.
MYTH: EATING CHOLESTEROL-RICH EGGS RAISES BLOOD CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
Truth: The Cholesterol You Eat Has Little Or No Connection To The Cholesterol In Your Blood
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advice Committee recently dropped its recommendation to restrict cholesterol. Go eggs! Blood cholesterol is produced by the liver; what you eat has little impact on your levels. So skip the Egg Beaters and go for the whole egg. “It’s a protein powerhouse that’s one of the best food sources of choine, a neurotransmitter associated with memory and cognitive function,” adds Babb.
MYTH: RED MEAT IS NOT PART OF A HEALTHY DIET
Truth: Processed Meat Gets A Thumbs Down, But Not The Unprocessed Stuff
Eat the burger, but skip the added bacon. Researchers at Warsaw University found that men who ate the most processed meats—think salt-laden sausage and deli meats—were twice as likely to die of heart failure than those who ate less. What’s more, those who ate more unprocessed meat did not show an increased risk of heart disease. So given the option between bacon and burger, the burger wins.
MYTH: OLIVE OIL IS THE BOMB
Truth: We Need A Variety Of Fats In Our Diet
Olive oil is a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat with health benefits galore, but limiting yourself to one type of fat is like eating just one kind of vegetable. “Having a variety of fat-containing foods like oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and salmon provides a broad span of essential fatty acids and phytosterols to safeguard against disease,” says Babb. Just skip the artificial trans fats, which show up as partially hydrogenated oils on labels (margarine, packaged pastries, and coffee creamers are often offenders) as they can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.