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Off beat

FYI SOUTH Magazine, May 2007

Balancing Act III

By Daniel C. Luthi, Nutrition Educator & Chinese Herbalist Translated by Eva Huang

Go on a low-fat diet to lose weight and become healthier? Forget it! That myth has been cleared up for a while now. Unfortunately, you haven't been filled in, have you? Well, here is the short version.

As we learned in Part Two of this series, fat needs to be part of your diet and it should be in proportion to carbohydrates and protein. What I'd like to stress today is the importance of the quality of the consumed fats.

Let's start with the good fats, such as olive oil, fish oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, and most nut and seed oils. They are either mono- or polyunsaturated and are good for us because they lower LDL, the bad cholesterol, and increase HDL, the good cholesterol. These oils should constitute the bulk of our fat intake as they contain essential nutrients. Of course, they should be of high quality (organic would be nice), unprocessed, and stored cool in proper containers without light and air.

Then there are the saturated fats which include meat, seafood, eggs, whole milk, butter, cheese, ice cream and other foods. These fats also have healthy properties, especially if they come from clean sources such as free-range chickens; grazing, hormone-free cows; and pollution-inspected seafood, but they must be consumed in moderation.
Lastly, and dangerously lurking everywhere, are the trans fats. They are found in hydrogenated vegetable oils and margarines, and they are nasty! These fats are artificial--their chemical structure has been changed--and they are toxic with no beneficial nutrients. Unfortunately, they are found in lots of foods such as instant noodles, cookies, cakes, potato chips, ice cream, milk powder, french fries, onion rings, salad dressings and virtually all fast foods. You can't avoid them, but you can and must reduce your intake of them!

In summary, eat more of the good fats, less of the saturated fats, and try to avoid the trans fats! That's all, which really doesn't seem that hard, does it?


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