Fats In The American Diet Essay

4927 words - 20 pages

Fats in the American Diet

There has been a myth in our society for the last few decades about fats. Ever since the USDA created the food pyramid in the early 80’s, the feeling towards fats has been that all types are bad for one’s health and should be consumed at a minimum. However, more recent studies have shown that not all fats are detrimental, and some are necessary in maintaining healthy bodies. Certain types are helpful for reducing the risk of cancer, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Without fats the body could not absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K because they help move the supplements into the bloodstream where the vitamins get absorbed (Graham par. 2). Simple actions like a regular consumption of nuts, helps aid in lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes 2 (Medical Update par. 6). There are many different types of fats in our diet. Monounsaturated and Omega-3 and 6 fats are the healthiest forms, while saturated and trans-fats are the worst kinds. While a gram of any type of fat contains the same amount of calories (nine per gram) the health benefits are definitely not equal (Good, Bad Fats par. 1). This paper will look into the different types of fats and their impact both positively and negatively on the individual. It will provide information on popular diets, and a look into the current USDA’s food pyramid which is under pressure to be reevaluated. Nutritional ingredients in foods that people consume on a regular basis will also be examined. Within the past few years a new commercial fat product developed by Proctor & Gamble has been developed. This commodity is called olestra and it has been surrounded by controversy. This raises the issue of whether government should be involved in any of the health decisions for our country. Mainly, people have felt the need to avoid foods with lots of fat ever since the food pyramid was established. Foods with high fat content were placed at the top of the pyramid and said to be consumed at a minimum. Foods with lots of carbohydrates were situated at the bottom and became the basis for the American diet. In turn, the obesity rates for our country sky rocketed. Now it is believed that some types of fats are good for the body and one of these is monounsaturated fats.

There are two types of unsaturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. All fats are composed of long carbon chains with a maximum of two hydrogen atoms attached to each carbon. Monounsaturated fats have one hydrogen atom missing from the carbon chain while polyunsaturated fats have two missing (Good Fats par. 3). Polyunsaturated fats come in two types, omega-3 and 6, and these types will be looked at later. Monounsaturated fats are not “essential fatty acids” (EFA’s) because the body can make this form from other fats and are commonly found in most of fat-rich foods. Otherwise, “essential fats” must be consumed through the diet. Monounsaturated fats can be found in cooking oils like canola, olive, peanut, and...

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