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Health Team

Good fats part of healthy diet, doctor says

Posted December 13, 2016

During the holiday season we're often bombarded with tasty temptations, and some are good for us but most are not so good.

When people consider holiday buffets many try to avoid the higher fat options. However, it's important to know that not all fats are bad; some fats are actually good for you.

The key is knowing which ones to avoid and the ones to reach for.

Fat has become a bad word in the diet world, but the truth is there are healthy fats, according to Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Mark Hyman.

"When you eat olive oil, and nuts, and avocados, and whole eggs, even grass-fed meats, these are actually healthy for you and they don't actually cause heart disease or weight gain – they actually stimulate your metabolism," Hyman said.

Hyman says it's sugar that has a greater negative impact on our diets.

Good fat actually helps release fat from your fat cells and helps curb hunger.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates are the real enemies because they store fat, make you hungry and slow metabolism—all of which can lead to heart disease.

"Eating good fats and cutting out the starch and sugars is a great way to stimulate your metabolism, to feel satisfied, and enjoy luscious, delicious food," Hyman said.

These changes in fat and sugar recommendations are from the United States Department of Agriculture's 2015-2020 dietary guidelines.

The focus is on improving eating patterns, which are the foods and beverages a person consumes regularly over time, rather than just during the holidays. Healthy eating paired with regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The guidelines recommend limiting consumption of added sugars to less than 10 percent of daily calories. Added sugars are put into foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared, but that does not include naturally occurring sugars, such as those in milk or fruit.

As for fat, a healthy eating pattern contains up to 35 percent of your total calories from fat, with an emphasis on unsaturated fat. Saturated fat consumption should be less than 10 percent of daily calories, and that's the fat most often found in animal products like beef, pork and chicken.

Fish, olive oil, nuts, avocados and eggs are good for you, but still think about them within a healthy overall eating pattern in which you are choosing foods from all the food groups.

Hyman says when you're looking for good fat, stick with whole foods.

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