Monday, January 3, 2011

The skinny on fats

Avocados have monounsaturated fat, often called 'good' fat. But 'good' doesn't necessarily mean eat as much as you want as the following article details.

Excerpts from an article in the US World News and Report 12/10

By Katherine Hobson

A certain amount of fat in your diet is essential. However, all fats are not alike in their effect on blood cholesterol levels.

Trading saturated fats for polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6) does seem to offer healthy benefits for the heart, says Saroyan Mozaffarian Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.

Monounsaturated fats found in avocados, olive oil and other oils are a good replacement for saturated fats, but they don't have the same health benefits as polyunsaturated fats.

Many point to the so-called Mediterranean diet, but "the health-conferring element in that eating pattern hasn't really been nailed down" says Mozaffarian. "If olive oil is beneficial, it may not be because of the monounsaturated fats it contains, but the phytochemicals."

"Focus on getting your pattern of eating right," says Alice Lichtenstein a nutritional biochemist and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University. "And research is fairly consistent on what constitutes healthy eating: a varied diet heavy on fruits and vegetables that emphasizes whole grains, fish and a limited amount of lean meats and low fat dairy and it includes liquid oils for food preparation."

Remember that quantity matters. Even healthy eaters should master portion control. Mimi Garner, Cardiologist and medical director of the Scrolls Center for Integrative Medicine in LaJolla, California says, " if you eat a lot of nuts, avocados or olive oil, you'll get fat."

Once it's around your middle, it's no longer good fat.