Dieting Myth #3: Eating fat makes you fat

Our national fat consumption has gone from 43% of total calorie intake to around 34% in the last 40 years. This is due to the invention of many diet, or low-fat alternatives to our favorite foods and snacks (diet coke, Weight Watchers brand items, low fat cheeses, etc.) , as well as the misguided belief that eating high fat items makes you fat. Unfortunately, our nation has grown fatter than over the past 40 years, despite the decrease in fat consumption!

To put it simply, there is no scientific evidence that eating a low fat diet will make you healthier or cause you to lose weight.

That really caused us to pause for a minute. Really?! Most of us find the total fat content on a nutrition label and make food choices based on that fact alone.In addition to that surprising information, a nutritional study completed to find out the best diet for those with heart disease found that those eating a higher fat Mediterranean diet had better heart health than those eating the low fat diet promoted by the American Heart Association. This “Mediterranean diet” consisted of “good” fats.

What is a good fat? These fats boost your metabolism and help you burn fat quicker. Bad fats do the opposite. The best type of fats consist of Omega-3 fats, which are in wild fish (salmon, herring, etc.), flaxseed, and some types of nuts and seeds. Monounsaturated fats are also good–these are most of the foods in a Mediterranean diet– extra virgin olive oil, almonds, avocado, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds are a few examples of foods high in this type of fats.

The “ugly” fats are the ones you should be avoiding. The most dangerous of all, which has been gaining a lot of press lately, is the trans fats. They increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, as well as slow down your metabolism. When looking at food labels, look for the key words “hydrogenated” and “partially hydrogenated” oils. If it contains these oils, it probably contains trans fat.

The bottom line is this: a low fat diet is not a healthier diet. Generally those on a low fat diet are filling up on sugars and carbs, which will end up causing you to gain weight and slow down your metabolism. Read food labels, and when eating fats, stick with the good fats, which will help you maintain a healthy weight and speed up your metabolism.

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About the author

A practicing dentist since 1982, Dr. Gary Imm, provides advanced cosmetic dentistry, including smile makeovers, sedation, implant and TMJ services. He is committed to progressive, extraordinary care for his guests. All Smiles Dental Care trains at least 300 hours each year at such prestigious centers as the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dentistry. (LVI)