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For the last few decades or so, among the weight conscience of the world, fat seems to have been deemed a dirty word. Thankfully though, the truth of the matter is that this is one “F” word that we don’t need to strike from our vocabulary or our diets. In fact, if you’re trying to lose weight and think that cutting out fat is the answer, you may be shocked to find that you might actually tip the scales in the other direction.

That’s because not all fats were created equal. Yes, some are not so good. And some, we should avoid like the plague. But some types of fats are not only… get ready for it… GOOD for you, but they’re actually essential for your body to function properly. So, the type of fat you consume is just as, if not more, important than the amount you take in.

Check the facts: Amidst the low-fat revolution of the last twenty years or so, Americans are actually getting fatter with the obesity rates more than doubling. It’s because in place of fats, people are turning to simple carbohydrates that are full of sugars and empty calories. Not to mention all the fat-free stuff that’s been processed, refined, and packed full of chemicals and synthetic flavors until it resembles something kind of like food, if you want to call it that.

So here’s the skinny on fat. There are four different types of fat that are found in the foods we eat: Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Saturated and Trans. The first two are the good for you kind and can be found in Olive Oil, Avocados, different nuts and seeds and in proteins like fish. Saturated fats, while naturally occurring in meats and dairy as well as some tropical vegetable oils, need to be limited because they contain triglycerides which have been found to raise your LDL (or bad cholesterol) levels and therefore increase your risk of heart disease or stroke.

Interesting though, is that eating the good fats will have the opposite effect. Trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils as they are sometimes disguised, are mainly lab created fats that help lengthen the shelf life of food. It’s the kind of fat found in shortenings, fast food, snack food, fried food or just to sum up, junk food. All you really need to know when it comes to Trans fats is that, health wise; there are no redeeming qualities what so ever.

Well, what now? you may ask. Try to get out of the no-fat mentality. Good fat is your friend. And come on, it makes food taste so much better anyway. So simply start replacing the bad fat with the good. Read labels and skip the foods high in Saturated or Trans fats. Make these changes part of your healthy lifestyle along with a good workout routine. Trust me, your waist line and your taste buds will thank you!