Thursday, August 31, 2006

food nutrition : Have you heard about 'good fats'?

Have you heard about 'good fats'?

Recent news about low-fat diets seem to be conflicting. The results of a Women's Health Initiative study that involved nearly 50,000 postmenopausal women across the United States indicated that eating less fat may lower breast-cancer risk, but have little impact on colon-cancer and heart-disease risk.

“This study shows that just reducing total fat intake does not go far enough to have an impact on heart disease risk. While the participants' overall change in LDL “bad” cholesterol was small, we saw trends towards greater reductions in cholesterol and heart disease risk in women eating less saturated and trans fat,” said Jacques Rossouw, M.D., WHI project officer.

Did you notice that? Keywords there were: saturated and trans fat.

“This was not a particularly revolutionary study,” said Tallmadge . “We have known for a very long time that low fat doesn't mean much.”

Again, for Tallmadge , the importance of any element of the diet has to be considered in the context of the whole picture. “Some women who were eating a low fat diet were not actually having a good overall nutrition, and they might even have eliminated the good fats which are essential.”

Good fats come from vegetables oils, nuts, fatty fish, all sources of the essencial fatty acids Omega 3, etc. The unhealthy fats, you guessed them, are animal fats, and you can avoid them by consuming non or low fat dairy products and lean meat and poultry.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults keep total fat intake between 20 and 35 percent of calories, and saturated fats less than 10 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. For people with heart disease or at high risk for heart disease, targets for saturated fats may be further lowered.

Make those three meals worth the while

“I always recommend people to eat a big breakfast!” said Tallmadge . “And eat it at home, so you can pick healthier things. When you eat a big breakfast it will save you from the temptation to grab one of those doughnuts at the staff meeting.”

“Try to get an oat based cereal, because it's important to diversify your grains. I eat an oat based cereal, some fruits, nuts, milk and orange juice. So, I got my whole grains, protein, healthy fats, fiber and protein.”

Soy is a wonderful food that is packed with all the good stuff. “Soy foods are great. The soy bean is the only complete protein from a vegetable source, with all the amino acids, similar to meat,” explains Tallmadge .

Also, remember the deep colored foods are the richest in nutrients. Choose wisely, and chose veggies often.

Get the most food nutrition out of your calories. Choose the most nutritionally rich foods you can from each food group each day, those packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but lower in calories.

copyright Office of Minority Health


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