Since the distinction between good and bad fats, Americans have adopted a more is better attitude, indulging in unlimited amounts of “good” fat. 

Given the unending list of dangers of saturated fats in the diet, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advised limiting saturated fat intake and replacing it with more mono and polyunsaturated fats. Harvard University’s School of Public Health says unsaturated fats improve blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and stabilize heart rhythms. Additionally, research shows that polyunsaturated fats are crucial to brain function, behavior and normal growth and development. Without a doubt, certain dietary fats are necessary for optimal body functioning. But, is it possible to eat too much of a good thing?

While there is a clear distinction between saturated and unsaturated fats, calorically they are equal. That means, energy-wise, all fat grams, regardless of their name, are equal to 9 calories each. So, there is a need to practice caution even with “good” fats. Some mistakenly indulge in copious amounts of olive oil, coconut oil and other mono and polyunsaturated oils, as though they are calorie-free because research has highlighted a few of their benefits. All macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate) have certain benefits for the body, but that does not mean it is wise to practice unrestrained, overindulgence in any one of these. As always, a balanced approach is needed when it comes to diet, especially with that of fat. After all, fat has the most calories per gram than any other macronutrient.

Each individual, depending on current activity level and medical health implications, has to determine what percent of fat per day works best for them. Likely, the percent is a great deal lower than what you are currently consuming.

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