Photo of an avocado cut open

The surprising truth about fats

AUG 07, 2014
  • Share this:
  • Linkedin

There are some major myths about fats. Let’s start with the 2 most common.

1. True or false?

All fats are bad for you — FALSE. Only some fats are actually healthy.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can be good for you, because they help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, saturated and trans fats increase cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Trans fats — which are artificially manufactured — are especially important to avoid.

There’s room in every diet for some healthy fats, so enjoy them in moderation. Ideally, 25 to 35% of your calories should come from fat.

You can help improve your diet today by replacing bad fats with better alternatives:

  • Instead of coconut and palm oil, try macadamia oil.
  • Instead of beef and lamb, try salmon, mackerel, and trout.
  • Instead of butter and vegetable shortening, try olive oil and canola oil.
  • Instead of fried or packaged snacks, try walnuts, avocados, and sunflower seeds.

2. True or false?

Cutting fat means cutting flavor — FALSE. Boost flavor in your meals using healthy oils, herbs, and citrus fruits. With the right ingredients, it’s easy to increase taste without adding pounds.

Need proof? Try this recipe for chicken braised with lemon and fennel, which combines fragrant lemons and spices plus olive oil for a flavorful recipe that’s low on fat.

1 large fennel bulb
3 large Meyer lemons
1 teaspoon coarse salt
6 chicken thighs, boned and skinned
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup green olives (optional)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon grated Meyer lemon zest

  • Trim the stalks from the fennel, saving the lacy greens. Slice the fennel lengthwise in 1/4-inch-thick slices, then slice these lengthwise into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • Cut the lemons in half, then cut each half into 3 to 4 pieces. Discard the seeds. Put the lemons in a bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  • Add the chicken, pepper, garlic, and oregano, then turn to coat. Set aside for about 30 minutes.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat.
  • Lightly brown the chicken, turning several times. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  • Add the remaining olive oil and the fennel. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the lemons, olives, wine, and water, scraping up the brown bits.
  • Return the chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, exactly the time needed to roast the potatoes.
  • Mince the fennel fronds, mix with the lemon zest, and sprinkle over your dinner in a serving bowl.