The advice you’ve heard the most, or for the longest time, isn’t necessarily the best, especially if you’re talking about heart health.
The importance of a low-fat diet to prevent heart disease was reiterated for decades. The American Heart Association (AHA), federal dietary guidelines, and other organizations and experts suggested cutting fat would improve heart health.
Food manufacturers started replacing fat with sugar and other ingredients to add flavor.
Consumers made conscious decisions to limit fat.
Hearts got no healthier. Cases of heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and waistlines all ballooned even though people were eating less fat. Another condition became even more prevalent: type-2 diabetes.
Some people even started turning to high-fat ketogenic diets and achieved drastically improved health.
Nutritional authorities like the AHA have changed their tune. These days they aren’t telling people to restrict fat intake. Instead, it is more about overall dietary approaches to health.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, and legumes are the foods they suggest. Like nuts, seeds, fish, and other plant-based foods like avocado and olives, many of them are very high in fat.
Some experts even suggest saturated fat in meats may not be harmful as once thought. If the meat is unprocessed and consumed occasionally, it might not be heart-healthy, but it isn’t unhealthy either. It could just be neutral.
Other fats, like those found in foods mentioned above, even have healthful benefits to the heart. Unsaturated fats in olives, olive oil, fish, nuts, avocado, and more can improve cholesterol profile and take stress off the heart.
They are also associated with a host of other benefits.
Dietary fat, when naturally occurring, is not necessarily threatening to your heart. Avoiding processed meats like bacon, deli meat, and pepperoni sticks is recommended, but fresh meat is likely safe. Same with eggs and dairy.
For a healthy heart, stick to fresh foods found along the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid sugary food, processed food, and trans-fat.