FAT MYTHS AND FACTS
Myth: We don’t really need fat in our diets.
Fact: Yes, in fact we do. Fat is in every food source (9 calories per gram), and is important for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and hormone production. And, it helps to keep you warm.
There are many types of fats. For general health, saturated fats (mainly from animal sources such as red meat and full-fat dairy products) and trans-fats (often found in packaged cookies, chips, pastries and other snack-foods) are best to consume in moderation.
Myth: Low-fat diets are the most effective fat-burning diets.
Fact: Low-fat diets are often high in carbohydrates, including refined, processed or high-sugar options. Fat is not the enemy. Choose heart-healthy fats such as mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, found in such foods as nuts, seeds, olive and nut oils, whole grains, legumes and nut-butters. These foods help with satiety (the feeling of fullness) and do not contribute to unhealthy lipid levels. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in foods such as fatty fish, walnuts, soy nuts and green pumpkin seeds) actually aid in reducing inflammation.
Myth: Cardiovascular exercise is a better fat-burning workout than resistance training.
Fact: Cardiovascular and resistance-training exercises are equally important when you’re trying to shed body fat. While continuous cardiovascular exercise often burns more calories than weightlifting, resistance training helps build muscle. A study published in 2012 in BMC Public Health found that study subjects experienced the most significant weight and fat losses when they participated in both cardiovascular and resistance-training exercises, rather than doing just one or the other.
Myth: Very low calorie diets (LCD) are the best fat-burning strategy.
Fact: While intermittent fasting or following very low-calorie diets might help you shed fat initially, you’ll likely have better luck focusing on a diet you can stick with long term. A review published in 2006 in the journal Obesity found that lower-calorie diets containing 1,000 to 1,500 calories per day are just as effective as very low-calorie diets, providing fewer than 800 calories daily, for long-term weight-loss success. Furthermore, fasting and using very low-calorie diets are only safe when you’re supervised by a qualified healthcare provider. Harvard Health Publications recommend women don’t fall below 1,200 calories and men get at least 1,500 calories daily unless they are medically supervised.
Myth: Avoid full-fat dairy products to maximize fat-loss
Fact: While choosing low-fat dairy foods may help lower your overall calorie intake, you don’t necessarily have to choose skim milk to shed fat. A study published in 2013 in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care found that men who consumed low-fat dairy diets, including low-fat milk and no butter, had higher risks for developing abdominal obesity than men who consumed high-fat dairy diets containing butter, high-fat milk and whipping cream. A review published in 2013 in the European Journal of Nutrition also found that high-fat dairy intakes were associated with lower body fats, high-fat dairy foods do not appear to contribute to obesity. The key here is to eat a well-balanced and calorie-balanced diet that fits your activity and lifestyle.
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