In the last 10 years, there has been a sharp increase in obesity, hypertension, and heart attacks. Many organizations who have been analyzing this trend link it to the change in people’s diet, and the high fat content in fast food, take out, and supermarket products.
The obvious step would be to cut back on fat, but it is not always that easy. Even when you read a label, so much of it is misleading:
- Foods that are labeled “cholesterol-free” or “no cholesterol” may contain a lot of saturated fat.
- Foods labeled “low fat” may contain a lot of cholesterol
- Foods that advertise “cooked in 100% vegetable oil” may contain a lot of saturated fat.
Yes, it is false advertising. Labels won’t tell you everything, making it difficult to make really smart decisions. Here are some facts that they don’t tell you:
- Don’t let people tell you that you don’t need to watch your cholesterol count! Both cholesterol and saturated fat raise blood cholesterol, except saturated fat does it far more quickly. They block the LDL receptors in the liver that help remove cholesterol in the blood and this raises blood cholesterol levels.
- Cholesterol is only found in animal foods, or animal products. So, if it swims, walks, crawls, or flies, it contains cholesterol. No plant foods contain cholesterol unless they are mixed with animal foods. So, baked goods that contain egg yolks or dairy products inherit the cholesterol content of those ingredients.
- There are many types of saturated fat. Most animal fats such as butter, lard, meat fat, dairy fat contain a lot saturated fat, which can block the arteries. But worse still are the highly saturated fats in tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm oil, which are found in many processed foods like baked goods, store-bought snacks and desserts.
- Hydrogenation or partial hydrogenation is a process that makes some good fats bad. It improves the shelf life of fat and changes the texture of the fat, but it makes the food more harmful to eat. This process also increases “trans fats” which acts like cholesterol and naturally saturated fats to raise cholesterol levels in the blood. Avoid these fats!