Average American consumes very close to recommend amounts of both total and saturated fat, according to study; recommended value of saturated fat is 10%, while Americans consume 11% on average
May 30, 2012
– For many individuals the best diet for weight loss and overall heart health consists of a balanced intake of protein, carbohydrates, and fats -- including monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fat. However, consumers are bombarded everyday by conflicting and contradictory information about nutrition and by far the biggest source of confusion is fats.
Monica Reinagel is an author, licensed nutritionist, and professionally trained chef, who wants to set the record straight about fats. "One of the biggest myths is that low-fat diets are better for weight loss and heart health," says Reinagel. "All too often, people on low-fat diets end up eating more sugar and refined carbohydrates -- which can be even worse for both your waistline and your heart!" Some of the most common misconceptions about fats are:
1. LOW-FAT FOODS ARE BEST FOR WEIGHT LOSS: Not necessarily true. Fats are calorie-dense, and as such should be eaten in moderation; however more attention should be focused on the amount of calories consumed and burned. There is a lot of research showing that low-fat diets are not as effective for long-term weight loss or cardiovascular health as diets that are higher in fat but moderate in sugar and/or carbohydrates.
2. A LOW-FAT DIET IS BETTER FOR YOUR HEART: The latest research suggests that limiting refined carbohydrates is far more important for heart health than limiting total or saturated fat. Often when individuals go on a low-fat diet, they replace the fat with refined carbohydrates. But diets high in refined sugars tend to promote systemic inflammation, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
3. SATURATED FATS ARE JUST AS BAD AS TRANS FATS: Absolutely not, but some organizations insist on linking them together, such as the American Heart Association through their "Bad Fat Brothers" campaign. In fact, while experts agree that trans fats should be eliminated as much as possible, they also agree that about 1/3 of your total fat intake can be from saturated fats.
4. MEAT AND BUTTER AND EGGS CONTAIN MOSTLY SATURATED FAT: Animal fats are usually a mix of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. For example, less than 50% of the fat in beef tenderloin is saturated and less than 65% of the fat in butter is saturated.
5. AMERICANS EAT TOO MUCH FAT: Actually, the average American consumes very close to the recommended amounts of both total and saturated fat. The recommended value of saturated fat is 10% and the average is 11%.
The only fats you need to completely avoid, says Reinagel, are trans fats. Fortunately, many food manufacturers are replacing shortening and other hydrogenated oils with a healthier blend of unsaturated and saturated vegetable oils, such as palm oil. For more information about fats, visit www.americanpalmoil.com.
American Palm Oil Council
The American Palm Oil Council, the U.S. association representing the Malaysian palm oil industry, works to educate the American public about the benefits of palm oil, which is used around the world in food applications, biofuel, soaps, candles, and other products.