Fat intake has become an
obsession in this country; every day, it seems as if a new
fat-free product hits the market, or an existing product is
modified so that it has less fat than before. But some fat
intake isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, a recent study
shows that specific amounts of some fats appear to improve the
absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream, which may help
reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Researchers in Iowa studied a group of young
men and women between the ages of 19 and 28 who ate salads
topped with a dressing that contained 0, 6, or 28 grams of
canola oil, respectively. Blood samples were taken hourly for up
to 12 hours after each meal. Results showed that when the study
participants consumed salads with the fat-free dressings, they
absorbed virtually no beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant.
However, when they consumed salads with reduced-fat or full-fat
dressings, they had higher absorption rates of beta-carotene,
alpha-carotene and lycopene, all of which help fight conditions
such as heart disease and cancer.
The lesson here? Some fat might not be as bad
as you think; in fact, consumed in moderation, it may actually
be good for you. Look for salad dressings and other foods that
derive their fat content from olive oil or canola oil, both of
which are high in monounsaturated fat. And if you insist on
fat-free dressings, mix a few slices of avocado or cheese in
your salad to help absorb nutrients.
To learn more about the benefits of sound
References: Brown MJ, Ferruzzi MG,
Nguyen ML, et al. Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from
salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad
dressings as measured with electrochemical detection.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition August