Some 30 to 40 years ago, the "low-fat" and "fat-free" diet craze began to take hold in the United States.
Many doctors, wellness professionals and medical and public health institutions advised Americans to eliminate as much fat from their diets as possible. Dietary fat was blamed for everything from weight gain and obesity to coronary heart disease.
In response, food manufacturers began to produce low-fat and fat-free versions of just about every type of food, including food that never had any fat to begin with - like juice.
Certainly, the low-fat and fat-free diet fad did not stop or even slow down the obesity epidemic in the U.S. during the past several decades. And, whether or not a low-fat diet can prevent or reverse obesity, heart and other diseases continues to be a subject of heated controversy among physicians and other health professionals.
What we do seem to know is that human body needs a certain amount of healthy fat in order to function properly.
A growing body of research indicates that certain healthy fats are essential to brain health, may decrease risks of certain diseases and may even play an important role in weight loss and healthy weight management.
So, what are the sources of healthy fats?
Many doctors today, especially functional medicine physicians, advise staying clear of hydrogenated fats and fats from animals - particularly from commercially raised farm animals as these fats often contain traces of antibiotics, steroids and other drugs. (See Abuse of Antibiotics in our Food and the FDA, Drugs in Meat and Milk and How Farms Contribute to Superbugs)
Instead, it is recommended that we limit ourselves to fats from plant-based sources - those found in certain foods (such as nuts, seeds and olives and avocados) and in certain vegetable oils.
As this infographic illustrates, the most recent studies show that insofar as oils go, the healthiest fats come from the following:
✿ Olive Oil
✿ Flaxseed Oil
✿ Coconut Oil
✿ Peanut Oil
✿ Sesame Oil
✿ Avocado Oil
Other beneficial oils include:
✿ Almond Oil
✿ Hemp Seed Oil
✿ Macadamia Nut Oil
✿ Sesame Seed Oil
✿ Walnut Oil
Certain considerations need to be given to purchasing, storing and cooking with various types of vegetable oils. This infographic gives some pointers in these areas and this and related information is also available online and in many excellent books.
Oils to Avoid and Oil Essentials
Healthy Oils - Cooking and Storing
Fat: Good, Bad and Ugly
The Amazing Benefits of Coconut Oil
Infographic Source and further info at: Health Central - Benefits of Vegetable Oils