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Some Facts About Fats

By Glen Peavey

When you think of fat, what typically comes to mind? If you’re like most people you probably see a picture of an overweight body or body part. This image usually leads us to shy away from dietary fats of all kinds. Don’t fear fat. Try to rid yourself of the connection between body fat and the fat you eat. Not all fat is bad.

Too much fat like too much carbohydrate or even too much protein will result in unwanted weight gain. And too much of the wrong kind of fat will result in a deterioration of your health.

Here are a few fat facts that will help to separate the good from the bad.

Studies show that diets that are too low in fat can bring about a decrease in testosterone. A decline in testosterone could lead to an increase in fat and a decrease in muscle. Also there is evidence to suggest that diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can actually help to prevent obesity. One fat you should try to avoid entirely is trans fat. Trans fats are linked with cardio vascular diseases because they elevate serum cholesterol levels even more that saturated fat. They also increase production of low-density lipoprotein (the bad cholesterol). There is even some evidence linking trans fat to muscle loss!

Saturated fatty acids. Found mostly in animal sources such as meat and poultry, milk and butter. A few vegetable oils like coconut, palm kernel and palm oils. These fats are typically solid at room temperature and are associated with heart disease and other maladies. They do have some benefits if taken in moderation.


Monounsaturated fatty acids. Found mainly in vegetable oils such as canola, olive and peanut. Liquid at room temperature, these are considered healthy fats when consumed in moderation.


Polyunsaturated fatty acids. Found mostly in vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn, flaxseed and canola. Polyunsaturated fats, also the main fats found in seafood are liquid or soft at room temperature. The polyunsaturated fatty acids linoleic and alpha linolenic are called essential fatty acids. They are required for cell structure and hormone production, including testosterone. These essential fatty acids must be obtained from foods.


Trans fatty acids. Formed when vegetable oils are processed into margarine or shortening. Sources of trans fats in the diet include snack foods and baked goods made with “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “vegetable shortening.” Small amounts of trans fatty acids also occur naturally in some animal products such as dairy products. They’ve been linked to heart disease and may be worse than saturated fats.