For a long time, we thought avocados were good for nothing but ready-made guac and a decent California burger every now and then. But these little nutritional hand grenades were having an explosive impact on our diets for all that time. How so? They’re infused with a key nutrient for maintaining healthy weight: fat.
Wait…fat can help us maintain our weight? Fat doesn’t make us fat? In a word: exactly.
Fat is not something to avoid. For starters, it’s essential for normal growth and development. Dietary fat also provides energy, protects our organs, maintains cell membranes, and helps the body absorb and process nutrients. Even better, it helps the body burn fat, says nutritionist and owner of Nutritious Life meal system, Keri Glassman, RD, who recommends that about a third of any weight-loss plan’s calories come from dietary fat.
Before you grab a deep-fried hot dog, consider this: not all fatty foods are created equal. The foods you choose can mean the difference between a trim body and one plagued with obesity and disease, Glassman says. While a diet of stereotypically fatty foods like pizza, French fries, and hamburgers can contribute to weight gain and deterioration of health, the dietetic community is learning that the overall nutritional content of these foods—not their saturated fat—is what’s to blame. Sure, research from 50 years ago found that saturated fatty acids, a type of fat that’s “saturated” with hydrogen and typically solid at room temperature, raised LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
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