Macro Myths Debunked: Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
I don't know about you, but I don't just eat healthfully to look cool. I actually want to give my body a fighting chance at beating the system. If you have ever spent a drunken night or ten in the Vegas casinos, you know as well as I do that the house always wins; BUT when it comes to our bodies, we do not have to play the guessing game. We can call the shots and be in control. That is, as much as nutrition research will permit. Let's face it, we don't own lab coats and we can't very well test the validity of current nutrition â€œcommon knowledge" ourselves. What we can do is stay up to date, especially when it comes to good fats vs. bad fats.
I think it's safe to say that we all love to eat fat but do you ever find yourself asking the question: what kind of fats should I eat? As far as we're concerned, the verdict on saturated fat is not yet in. One day we are told to stay away from it, the next day we are told it has no bearing on the fate of our heart health. With all due respect, the American Heart Association can be as fickle as a drunk prom date and we end up alone in an empty hotel room wondering if it was something we said. No bueno. We are here to debunk those nutrition rumors and challenge hearsay to a duel against research. There's a new sheriff in town: it's called 6 Pack Fitness and we don't send our own into the fray unarmed. This is your macro myth debunked, and we are taking down the rumors about saturated fat. So, what are the facts about good fats vs. bad fats?
We are all aware of the negative stigma attached to the word â€œfat". Everybody is drooling with anticipation for the next fat-free-fad-diet-flavor-blast but, for all the unsightly associations society makes when they hear the word fat, they are overlooking one tiny detail. Not all fat is bad fat. In fact, good fats are an extremely necessary part of a well-balanced diet. They help you absorb vitamins/ minerals, build cell membranes (the protective layer around your cells), help your blood to clot (very useful when you accidentally cut yourself chopping veggies), and reduce inflammation. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are the magic words so keep these terms in mind when deciding which fats to include in your meal prep.
If you are reading nutrition labels WHICH YOU SHOULD BE, you will want to be aware of the Poison Ivy of ingredients. An evil, cleverly hidden and deceptively tasty ingredient called â€œpartially hydrogenated oil". If I were Batman (which I neither admit nor deny), I would bat-mobile through your cabinets and raid all packaged food items containing this lethal ingredient. This kind of fat has undergone a process called hydrogenation. The hydrogenation process is basically taking good fats (which begin as liquid) and turning them into solids (think butter vs. margarine). It also increases the shelf life of fat, which is what keeps your birthday cake Oreos fresh, with or without your 6 Pack Bag. If you aren't shaking in your Nikes by now, listen to this: studies show that every 2% of calories consumed from trans fats daily, increases your risk of heart disease by 23%. Yep, you heard that right.
This is where saturated fat comes into play. There was a time when nutritionists shunned this ugly duckling of the fat family but these days many studies are forcing us to ask ourselves: have we judged too hastily? I'm going to level with you here. Studies show that eating too much saturated fat is not great for you but it is not the absolute worst thing you could do. One meta analysis (a look at many studies testing the same thing to find the patterns) concluded that there was not enough evidence to say that saturated fat actually increased the risk of heart disease. Only that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat reduces that risk. HOWEVER, replacing saturated fat with highly processed carbs will do the opposite. It is actually better for you to have saturated fat in your diet than highly processed carbs. So I guess we can change the title of this blog to â€œThe Roast of Highly Processed Carbs". I don't think Comedy Central will be into it but hey, eliminating these carbs from my diet is success enough for me.
Foods that are low in saturated fat include lean meats, fruits/vegetables, and whole grains (brown rice, whole oats, oatmeal, wild rice). On the other hand, beef, cheese, and ice cream are some of the most popular (and most delicious) saturated fat sources in the U.S. so keep your cool when these food sirens try to seduce you with promises of deliciousness.
The American Heart Association suggests that you should keep your saturated fat consumption to no more than 6% of your daily calorie intake so if you are already monitoring your macros then you are already aware of how much fat you need/eat. This has been your guide to good fats and now all you need to do is be mindful of where those fats are coming from. With all your newfound knowledge (hopefully you learned something here about good fats vs. bad fats), you are ready to be the gatemaster of your body!
This post was brought to us by 6 Pack's resident social media badass, Jade. Check out her other posts on wild vs. farmed salmon and the best proteins to get you the most gains possible. Don't forget to come back for our Meal Prep Sunday recipes, and browse all the 6 Pack gear here!