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Fatty Foods are NOT the Enemy
So much negative hype without most of the facts
By Courtney Krueger / www.TrainEatLive.com
Fat! People hear this word and cringe. There are several negative connotations associated with these three letters, and from a young age we are programmed to view fat as a terrible thing. This "f word," however, possesses irony because the food group we spend our lives avoiding is the one that offers multiple benefits to our health. Don't jump to conclusions or reach for a twinkie just yet! These advantages come from the quality of fat we consume. While fat is an essential part of our diet, it is crucial to determine the difference between the right fats and the wrong fats. Let's have a fatty crash course real quick, and put it on the line in layman's terms. Fat can be categorized into two sections: saturated and unsaturated, which is code for bad and good.

Since saturated begins with an "s," we can play the alliteration game and remember to "stay away" because this fat raises bad cholesterol, clogs arteries, and increases health risks such as heart disease and stroke. Its evilness lurks in foods with animal fats, such as meat, and whole-milk products like butter and cream. Saturated fat has a friend known as trans-fat, and this is our biggest enemy since it's not only saturated, but also processed and hydrogenated. Envision packaged junk food, and when you think trans-fat, remember the three "c's:" cookies, crackers, and cake; these all provide are countless condemning calories! Anything fried is also trans-fatty such as doughnuts, french fries, and onion rings, and these devils in disguise should be consumed in extreme moderation! Many manufacturing companies have acknowledged this problematic fat, and have put a "no trans-fat" statement on their products. However, don't be fooled by this marketing strategy; these words do not put the product in the clear, and the trans-fat might have been replaced by another saturated fat. Always, always, always, check labels to ensure all saturated fats are off the charts!

Okay, enough about the bad fats and onto the good, which by process of elimination has to be the unsaturated ones. There are two kinds of unsaturated fats known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and fare that is rich with these necessities bring our health and mentality to an elevated state. They hold the opposite power of their contrary, and lower bad cholesterol while reducing the risk of disease. These components make our bellies look anything but fat, since they take awhile to digest and keep our stomachs full for a long duration. Even if we cheat and have the occasional "saturated treat," the satisfaction from this delicacy will avert overeating. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats also help transport vital nutrients throughout our bodies and act as an oasis for our skin. I know what you're thinking; where can one find such a miracle? These phenomenal fats can be found in foods like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. One component of polyunsaturated fat, known as omega-3 fatty acids, can be especially beneficial and may prevent ailments such as irregular heart beat and high blood pressure. To find foods rich in this nutrient, swim over to the fish aisle and catch some salmon, mackerel, or herring. Omega-3's are also found in flaxseed and walnuts. However, remember that these superfoods contain a high amount of calories, and while they should never be ignored, they should still be eaten in moderation.

Our bodies require some fat and eliminating this element from our diets will pose threats to our health and well-being. Especially if you are concerned with proper nutrition for athletes, you really need to differentiate between good fats and bad fats.  If you reach for the box that reads "fat-free," chances are the food will not fill you up and that the fat has been replaced with another factor like sugar. And what does sugar do when processed by your body; it turns to fat! Simple sugars, aka simple carbs, are our true enemy! (to put it simply) Simple carbs are made up of one or two forms of sugar, and they include culprits like candy and syrup. Chronic candy consumption encourages diseases like diabetes and promotes overall poor health. Your mom was wise to keep you from candy as a child, and each time you reach for a piece, envision her hand slapping it away! And while you're exploring the food kingdom, remember to befriend the good fats and to run fast when getting chased by a simple carb!
 

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