If you followed along with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, you might have seen his experiment on the very first episode with a handful of elementary school children and chicken nuggets. In the experiment, Jamie shows how all the “unused” bits and pieces of chicken are ground up along with all the fat to then be processed into what we all know as the chicken nugget. While the children shrieked during the process, upon completion of cooking these nuggets, Jamie was shocked to learn they were still open to eating them.
Well, not being fat. But, eating certain fats is not only good, but necessary for optimal health. You should also realize that you don’t have to totally eliminate so-called “bad” fat, such as saturated and trans fats, from your diet; the key is to minimize. Once you do that, it’s time to recognize the fats that are beneficial to your health.
The good news of certain fats being healthy has been pretty well propagated in recent years. But, many people still don’t know it. Or, if you do know, you may not know which name they go by and where you can find them. Here’s the 4-1-1 on healthy fats:
Monounsaturated fats have an amazing trait: they have the selective power of lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol, while increasing HDL “good” cholesterol. So, where do you get these wonder fats? Nuts like peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios are all good sources of monounsaturated fats. Other sources include avocado, canola oil, and olive oil. Monounsaturated fats have also been found to help with losing weight.
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February is American Heart Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke, the number one killer in the United States, so you and people you love don’t become a statistic.
Be honest. Do you know your numbers? Your cholesterol numbers. You should have your cholesterol measured once a year after age 30, especially if you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart problems. High cholesterol can double the risk for heart disease. It’s entirely possible that your body will produce too much cholesterol, even if you take steps to lower it. However, many people are successful at lowering their cholesterol with some simple changes.
There are three ways you can make your cholesterol levels better.
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In summer 2008, we told you about a pending ban on trans fats in California. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation banning the use of trans fats in the state’s restaurants. The ban has taken effect as of January 1, 2010.
The new law, passed by the California Legislature in 2008, gave restaurants plenty of time to change their menu items to trans fat-free meals. California has also passed a new law that applies to baked goods. This legislation will take effect on January 1, 2011.
While some people have cynically scoffed at this as government intrusion, I think they really miss the point. People know too little about what goes into their foods. And they are particularly vulnerable when they go out to eat.
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Smart Balance is using a very good marketing tool to grab shoppers’ attention by discussing trans fat.
Before we dive into their claim, let’s do a quick trans fat 101.
- Trans fat (aka trans fatty acids, partially hydrogenated oils) are created in an industrial process, by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils, making them more solid.
- Trans fat is used because it’s easy and inexpensive to produce. These products have a longer shelf life and it gives desirable taste and texture.