I just read a fascinating article by registered dietician Matthew Kadey in the June 2019 issue of Idea Fitness Journal concerning some common myths and realities about fat in foods. You might be surprised by these findings– read on!
The Myth: Fat-Free or Low Fat is Heathier
The reality: The low fat-craze led to the formulation of thousands of lower-fat products, from yogurt to cookies. However, fat tastes good, so when it is removed or reduced from a food, it loses a lot of its flavor. To make up for this loss of flavor, manufacturers often add artificial flavors, salt, and sugar –not exactly a nutritional bonus!
Bottom line: As long as you don’t overindulge, it’s better to enjoy foods in their natural,
full- fat state.
The Myth: Coconut oil is a “Superfood”
The reality: Often demonized for its upper-high saturated fat content (91% of its calories) coconut oil has experienced a renaissance. Its supporters claim that it can help with building muscles, losing weight, improving heart, liver and kidney helps, and even taming frizzy hair!
But coconut oil is not nearly the health boosting, fat-fighting miracle that its fans want it to be.
“There’s no strong evidence directly tying coconut oil either to a greater or reduced risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Patrick Wilson, RD, PhD, assistant professor of exercises at Old Dominion University.
Officials at the American Heart Association still say we should steer clear of coconut oil, citing concerns about its potential impact on cardiovascular health (Sacks et al.2017).
Bottom line: If you like the flavor or the moistness it adds to baked goods, it’s probably fine to include modest amounts (no more than a tablespoon daily) as part of a healthy eating plan.
I’ll continue to keep you updated as more research is published about health and nutrition. In the meantime, keep moving, and keep enjoying your unprocessed, natural foods!