Fat is Making a Comeback

dietary guidelines committee3There are expected to be changes in the upcoming reset of the government’s dietary guidelines that come out every 5 years.  These are the guidelines that inform the public on the healthiest way to eat.  You may remember the food pyramid or the most recent choosemyplate.gov.  It has a strong influence on the food industry and school lung programs.  It also has a strong influence on our waistlines.  The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is a panel of 14 experts which makes recommendations that strongly influence the guidelines.  They have recently released new recommendations which are expected to impact the nation’s dietary guidelines. The latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is due out later this year and is expected to change their recommendations about consumption of fats.

Idietary guidelines committeen a report earlier this year by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee the expert panel did not find a health benefit to limiting the amount of total fat in the diet.  This was a change from the 2010 and 2005 Guidelines which said that total fat should make up no more than 20% to 35% of total daily calories. The committee did recommend keeping the level of saturated fat, which is found in foods such as cheese, butter, whole milk and beef, to within 10% of total calories.

The guidelines update is expected to change the focus from limiting total fat intake to limiting saturated fats and worrying less about Polyunsaturated or “healthy” fats.  Polyunsaturated fat, found in vegetable oils such as soybean and corn oil, and fatty fish such as salmon and trout is not associated with an increase in heart disease.

Ancel Keys on the cover of Time Magazine in 1961. He claimed that saturated fats in the diet clogged arteries and caused heart disease.
Ancel Keys on the cover of Time Magazine in 1961. He claimed that saturated fats in the diet clogged arteries and caused heart disease.

In the 1970s, after years of research showed a connection between fat consumption and heart disease, the government started regulating the amount of fat in food.  This created a problem for the food industry.  When they took out the fat, their food didn’t taste so good.  To compensate they increased the quantities of sugar and corn syrup.  It is now believed based on subsequent evidence that the increase in carbohydrate consumption is a major driver of the American obesity epidemic and increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.  It turns out that replacing saturated fat with carbohydrates is not such a good idea.

The polyunsaturated fats have more calories per gram than carbohydrates but they also make you feel fuller for longer which leads to decreased calorie intake overall and can help you lose weight.  There is also evidence that a diet lower in carbohydrates can help weight loss more than a diet lower in fat (click here to learn more).  Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you can eat as much polyunsaturated fat as you want.  You still need to have limits on total calorie intake.  There are likely other health benefits to shifting the balance of your diet from sugar to healthy fats as well.

The bottom line is that increasing consumption of the polyunsaturated types of fats and protein and decreasing carbohydrates is essential in a healthy and balanced diet.  It will decrease weight and the risk of heart disease.

To help you out, I found a yummy recipe containing one of my favorite sources of polyunsaturated fats – avocado.  This, like most of my recipes I recommend comes from my favorite recipe site – skinnytaste.com.  Enjoy!

A light and colorful party dish with chips. The combination of flavors, sweet and salty with tangy hint of lime makes this a winner. This is also great over grilled fish or chicken!

Servings: 5 • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 119.4 • Fat: 8.2 g • Carb: 12.6 g • Fiber: 3.4 g • Protein: 1.3 g

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalepeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and let it marinate in the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

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