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Obesity and Fat Control Myths

- Are your ideas of obesity and fat control based on a myth? -

For years we heard that a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet would keep us healthy and help us lose weight. And many of us jumped on the bandwagon. Our idea of obesity and fat control was to eliminate fat and high-cholesterol foods from our diets.

Unfortunately, we were doing it all wrong.

-- The Truth about Obesity and Fat Control --

Instead of eliminating fat completely, we should have been eliminating the "bad fats," the fats associated with obesity and heart disease and eating the "good fats," the fats that actually help improve blood cholesterol levels.

-- Bad Fats --

There are two bad fats that you should limit your intake of - saturated and trans fats.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are mostly animal fats. You find them in meat, whole-milk products, poultry skin, and egg yolks. Coconut oil also has a high amount of saturated fat. Saturated fats raise the levels of both the good and bad blood cholesterol.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are produced through hydrogenation-heating oils in the presence of oxygen. Many products contain trans fats because the fats help them maintain a longer shelf life.

Margarine also contains a high amount of trans fats. Trans fats are especially dangerous because they lower the good cholesterol, HDL and raise the bad cholesterol, LDL.

Unfortunately, most product labels do not tell you how much trans fat it contains, but you can find out if it's in a product by looking at the ingredient list. If the ingredients contain hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils, then it contains trans fats.

The good news is in 2006, manufacturers will be required to list the amount of trans fat in their products on the nutrition labels, so it will be easier for you to find.

-- Good Fats --

Some fats actually improve cholesterol levels.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats are found in sunflower, corn, and soybean oils. These oils contain Omega-6, an essential fatty acid. However, most people get enough Omega-6 in their diet and instead need more Omega-3. Omega-3 is a fatty acid found in fish and walnuts.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats are found in canola, peanut, and olive oils. Both types of unsaturated fats decrease the bad cholesterol, LDL and increase the good cholesterol, HDL.

-- Yippee, break out the peanut butter! Whoah, not so fast --

"Hey, maybe this obesity and fat control business is not so hard after all! If unsaturated fats improve my blood cholesterol levels, this means I can splurge on all of the olive oil, peanut butter and nuts I want, right?" Wrong!

Sorry to be a party pooper, but for proper obesity and fat control, you do need to limit even your intake of good fats.

That's because fat of any kind does contain calories. Too many calories means you'll gain weight.

So, in a nutshell, the answer to effective obesity and fat control is this?

Eat the good fats in moderation, and stay away from the bad saturated and trans fats.

For more about obesity and fat control, including many useful links, visit


Alan Cooper is a journalist with 20 year's experience and the publisher of, a site with the ambitious aim of being a "one-stop-shop" for impartial information on obesity and weight loss solutions - including fad diets, prescription weightloss pills and natural weightloss aids.


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