If you have too much fat on your body, you probably have too much fat in your diet. Quite simply, the more fat you eat the more fat you store, leading to weight gain, disease and other health problems.
Of course, fat is part of any diet but the human body doesn’t need any saturated fat at all, and while governmental guidelines recommend we keep our fat intake to 30% of total daily calories, the body’s actual requirement of unsaturated fat is just 10% of daily calories. That’s quite a dip from the average American’s current fat intake of 36% of daily calories.
What’s the best way to lower dietary fat and thus minimize body fat? An important first step is eliminating or reducing meats and cheeses in the diet. Animal products contain high levels of saturated fats, which raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood. Next, choose cooking oils that remain liquid at room temperature. Stay away from products that are partially hydrogenated, a process that keeps products firm at room temperature, but creates “trans” fatty acids. Trans fats raise LDL cholesterol in the same way saturated fats do; they also decrease levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Finally, substitute jams, nonfat sour cream, lemon juice and herbs as condiments and toppings. They’re healthy alternatives and taste good, too.
Perhaps you’re wondering if the answer to dietary fat is Olestra, the fat-free, calorie-free, fat substitute new on the market. Well, the jury is still out on this one. Olestra, currently test-marketed in potato chips and other snack foods, looks and tastes like real fat but isn’t absorbed by the body, adding zero calories. So you can enjoy those olestra-containing treats without worrying about extra pounds caused by such snacking.
On the flip side, however, Olestra robs the body of certain vitamins and nutrients. Also, Olestra may cause gas, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps in certain people. So, it’s up to you to decide if the possible side effects outweigh the fat reduction in your diet.
But regardless of whether or not you choose the olestra route, cut back on fatty foods or opt for some of each, the bottom line is reducing fat in the diet and getting plenty of exercise for a fitter, firmer you.
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