Total Body Wellness: The Skinny on Fats PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ashley Berlin   
Thursday, 13 May 2010 22:10

Total Body Wellness: The Skinny on Fats
Before you reach for that box with Low Fat written in big, bold letters, check out this advice from our resident health and fitness expert for the low down on fats in foods.

It’s fairly common for someone to sit down in a nutritional consultation at our facility and say something like, “I don’t eat that much, I don’t understand why I’m overweight.”


Most people have a nemesis when it comes to eating, and it frequently turns out that your biggest enemy isn’t something that you’re eating. It’s something you’re not eating.


Here is a typical line of reasoning when it comes to food: I don’t want to be fat, so I won’t eat any fat. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Eating good fats does not make you fat. What does? Refined carbohydrates (the Big Bad four are potatoes, rice, pasta and bread) and trans fats (think food in a bag or box, like cookies and crackers).


Good fats are essential to the body. Fats build cell membranes and help them repair, they insulate and protect nerves, allow the lungs to work, are essential to eye function and keep the heart beating in a regular rhythm. Fats play a huge role in hormone regulation, and they slow down the digestive process so the body has more time to digest nutrients. And have you ever looked at an Olsen twin ensemble in Us Weekly or on Perez and wondered what she was thinking? She isn’t, and it’s literally not her fault. Fats are essential to brain function. In fact, the brain is made up of 60 percent fat.


The good fats are saturated and unsaturated fats. In the past some have argued that saturated fats are bad for you, but that’s outdated information. Most saturated fats are found naturally occurring with unsaturated fats and their unsaturated counterpart voids any harmful effects.


Great unsaturated fats to include in your diet include olive oil, flax seed, nuts, avocados, mayonnaise, fish and fish oil. Unsaturated fats lower the total amount of fat in the blood and prevent cardio vascular disease, heart attack and stroke.


Saturated fats that should be eaten are found in butter, coconut oil, dairy products, eggs and meat. And yes, you just read butter, not margarine. If you still have margarine in your fridge, immediately go throw it out. Margarine contains the one kind of fat that you want to avoid at all costs, trans fats.


Trans fats only occur in small quantities naturally. But trans fats play a huge role in the Standard American Diet (S.A.D., the irony is killing us, literally). Most of the trans fats that are consumed today are created as a side effect of partial hydrogenation of plant oils. They are found in fast food, fried food, packaged food and baked goods.


There is research to support all of this. The Archives of Internal Medicine points out a study in Framingham, Mass.: The more saturated fats, cholesterol and calories one ate, the lower the serum cholesterol they had. The study also showed that the people who ate the most cholesterol, the most saturated fats and the most calories, actually weighed the least and were the most physically active.


The American Journal of Epidemiology measured the saturated fat intake of a group of adults over a 14-year period. The top 25 percent of saturated fat intake had a 70 percent lower risk of stroke than the bottom quarter.


Next time you’re thinking about what to make for dinner, don’t get stressed out. There is an easy way to remember this stuff. The closer food is to the way it’s found in nature (the way God made it), the better it is for you. If it’s been through factories, had chemicals added to it and has the shelf life of styrofoam, forget about it.

Ashley Berlin -

Ashley Berlin is the health and fitness columnist for Cincy Chic and the owner of BEAT Personal Training in West Chester. Want more information about something you read here? Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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