Healthy fats: can you eat too many?

Foods rich in unsaturated fatty acids, such as avocado, salmon, and olive oil, are beneficial up to a certain amount.

If you’re interested in what’s on your plate, you’ve known for some time that not all fatty foods are created equal. Saturated fatty acids, found in products such as butter, lard, and animal fats) have a reputation as “bad.” Whereas unsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil, salmon, nuts, and avocado called “good.”

These beneficial fats protect the body, especially the cardiovascular system. It is essential to consume them regularly to stay healthy. But as with any nutrient, moderation is the key.

Balancing your intake

Roshni Rajapaksa, Assistant Professor of Medicine at New York University, USA, explains on “Good fats provide many benefits: they give us energy, keep us from snacking, and help the body absorb certain vitamins. However, all fats are high in calories, and eating excessive amounts can cause weight gain.”

Protein and carbohydrates do indeed contain fewer calories than fat. “If you are a healthy adult, 25-35% of your daily calories in good fats is a reasonable amount. So, if you eat about 2,000 calories a day, you can afford 65 grams of fat, which is one avocado and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.” If you’re concerned that you’re not balancing your meals correctly, you can ask a nutritionist for help.

When healthy fats help gain 15 years of life

After the age of 60, eating the healthy fats found in fish and vegetables will help you live longer, according to a new Swedish study.

Researchers at Uppsala University tested the levels of different fats in almost 2,200 Swedish women and 2,000 men over 60 years of age. In the 15 years that followed, 265 men and 191 women died, while 294 men and 190 women suffered from cardiovascular problems.

By analyzing the participants’ blood data, the scientists concluded that the highest levels of fatty acids, which found in vegetable oils (avocado, nuts, olives), are linked to a 27% reduction in the risk of death in men. Whereas, fatty acids found in fish such as salmon and trout associated with a 20% reduction in mortality in both men and women.

A few limitations, but effective message

According to the results published by the American medical journal Circulation, good fats help to gain 15 years of life on average. The only catch: the researchers are aware of the limitations of this study because the blood test to determine the level of fat taken only once. And the limited number of deaths related to cardiovascular disease makes it impossible to draw definitive conclusions about the impact of fat, especially when looking at the data for men and women separately.

In the end, the message is simple: eating more vegetables and fish and less animal fat can only do good!