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KEY POINTS:

1. A low-fat diet does not = healthy eating. However, the type of fat you eat has a major effect on your overall health.

2. Saturated animal fats and trans fats increase your risk of disease. Unhealthy saturated fats typically come from animal sources, butter, cheese, and ice cream. To decrease your intake of unhealthy fat, reduce or eliminate saturated animal fats, trans fats, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and processed foods.

3. Add healthy fats to your diet, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconuts.

Key #5: Eat Healthy Fats

There is probably no other area that generates as much confusion about healthy eating than fats do. I’ll help you clear the misinformation and give you a solid science-based plan for how to add healthy fats to your diet and why.

Overall it is time to end the low-fat = healthy eating myth. That concept has not served us well. Food manufacturers simply removed fats and replaced them with sugars and refined grains and the negative impact on our health has been frightening. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the percentage of fats in your diet, whether high or low, does not determine your risk of disease.

What matters is the type of fat that you have in your diet. I want you to increase the amount of healthy fats and decrease or, even better, eliminate unhealthy fats that you eat. Unhealthy fats include saturated animal fats and trans-fats. These increase your risk of disease. Unhealthy saturated fats typically come from animal sources and include red meat (which you can eat on occasion for protein and iron – but make sure it’s grass-fed and organic), butter, cheese and ice cream. You can spot these because they are typically solid at room temperature. Simply, avoid saturated animal fats, trans-fats, hydrogenated vegetable oils and processed foods.

There are healthy fats you can add to your diet and these healthy sources include nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconuts.

Here are great ways to improve the balance between healthy and unhealthy fats:

· Use extra-virgin olive, walnut, coconut, and sustainably sourced palm oil. And when you cook with oil, never heat it past the smoking point, as the beneficial properties of the oil are ruined.

· Have a handful of raw nuts and seeds every day – focus on almonds, pecans, walnuts, flax and chia.

· Eat small fatty fish (such as sardines and salmon) often and larger fish (such as tuna and swordfish) infrequently, as they contain higher levels of toxic heavy metals.

· Buy flax oil in dark bottles and keep it in the fridge (air, light and heat cause it to break down). Use it in salads or other cold dishes or add it to cooked foods. You could also buy ground flax and add it to shakes, cereal, cooked grains and stews.

· Eat grass-fed animals (grass is rich in Omega-3's) rather than grain-fed animals.

· Use cheese as a spice not a food. A small amount of old, flavourful cheese can be a nice addition to a salad or stir fry. But cheese is not a healthy food so limit your intake or avoid it completely.

· Serve healthy fats at the table. Use olive oil as a drizzle instead of butter, or guacamole instead of sour cream.

The takeaway here is not that you should be afraid of fats and of adding healthy fats to your diet but that you should avoid unhealthy fats that can damage your health and metabolism.

Today's POWER-UP: What oils should I use for cooking?

When you are cooking, pay attention to the oils you are using. Choose cold-pressed, extra-virgin oils more often as they are less heat processed and will have better nutrient content. Most vegetable oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids which, although important, can swing you too far into a pro-inflammatory state. Choose olive, coconut or avocado oil more, and sunflower, corn and soybean oil less often. It is also important to consider what you are doing with the oil. Fats that are very high in Poly unsaturated fatty acids are easily degraded with heat and are better off in salads, not for frying. So use olive oils for salads, and coconut / avocado oils for frying and cooking.

Dive Deeper: All about healthy fats with Dr. Richard Bazinet on the Be Better Podcast

I interviewed one of the world’s leading researchers on healthy fats Dr. Richard Bazinet from The University of Toronto. There are some brilliant insights that you can gain from Dr. Bazinet’s perspective on fats.

You can listen to the complete interview at http://drgregwells.com/community/dr-richard-bazinet-part-1  and http://drgregwells.com/community/dr-richard-bazinet-part-2.