Let’s Get Confused about Fats

Harvard School of Public Health put out an article entitled:

Principles of Healthy Menu R&D: A Focus on Fat 

There has been some blogs about it stating “Time to Stop Talking about Low Fat – Harvard School of Public Health.  To me this jumps out as “Wow, I don’t have to worry about being Low Fat any more.  Bring on the FRIES AND CHIPS!!!!!”

However, the article is about how best to communicate healthy food choices at grocery stores and restaurants.  The authors correctly state that low fat foods may not be the panecea that the public thinks and that restaurants and food processing companies should focus on the verbiage “healthy fats.”

Here’s what it means –

Just because a food product is labeled “Low Fat” or “No Transfat” doesn’t make it healthy.  Many times food processing companies yank out the fat and fill it in with sugar and sodium.  Also, the foods may be based on white flour, sugar, white rice and other empty calories.

White flour, sugar and white rice can elevated triglyceride levels.  Excess sodium raises blood pressure.

Even if a food is labeled “Transfat Free” it can contain up to 0.5 grams of transfats per serving.  If you eat several servings of this food a day, your transfat intake multiplies with the number servings and bring the nasty heart issues with it.

What’s a girl to do?

First, you can learn more about reading food labels from LaDiva’s Fast Food Label Reading videos.

Next, I do want you to keep your fats to 3 grams per serving of the foods you eat, especially those from boxes, jars and styrofoam take out. In addition, I want you to have healthy fat sources like a handful of walnuts or pistachios daily or flax meal.  Details about how flax works can be read in my Just gimme the Flax article.  You can learn how to cook with it in the LaDiva video on baking and egg/oil substitutions and in the Thick Yummy Eggplant Cutlets recipe.  Green leafy veggies also have healthy fats as in the Walnut Pecan Pesto.

When you look at the fat sources I mentioned above you see that the fats come in their original packaging – not a bottle or spray can or baked chips.

They, also, come with fiber and low sodium. Now that you have been amidst this fitness challenge awhile it is time to step up your nutrition a notch and add whole grains.  Folks don’t realize that whole grains have some healthy fats.  I made this Basic Grain video to help you learn some common ones and how to cook them.  Grains cook anywhere from 5-90 minutes.

A healthy fiber content should be around 3 grams or higher per serving. A good rule of thumb for sodium is that it should equal calories per serving.

If a food doesn’t meet these recommendations it doesn’t mean you can never have it. Rather that you have to think about what you are eating for the day and work around it. If I want a fatty peanut coconut sauce, I’ll have it over steamed veggies and quinoa [a 10 minute grain] or brown rice. I’ll have oatmeal for breakfast and a low fat lunch. If I want pretzels with my Pistachio Baba Ghanoush, then I cut back on my sodium intake in other meals.

What’s the take home message?  Keep foods close to their original packaging, learn to read a food label in less than a minute and kick up whole grain consumption in your daily meals.

Now that’s not too confusing, is it?


4 thoughts on “Let’s Get Confused about Fats

  1. I totally agree; we keep getting fooled by these false labels: low fat treats, low carb, or even how they can help fight off cholesterol etc. Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:))

    • Thanks for watching the videos. What is the point to salmon oil? Salmon do not make these oils. They get them from microalgae. You can get these oils from microalgae which are cleaner and better for the environment.

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