Don't Be Afraid Of Fatty Foods

While you're vacationing this summer or enjoying the sun at an outdoor barbecue, don't be afraid to sink your teeth into a juicy hamburger or indulge in an ice cream treat. Experts say consuming fatty foods won't ruin your diet.

For years, health authorities have strongly urged Americans to consume less fat -- and Americans have heeded their advice. But eating foods high in fat every so often will actually help you maintain good health, reports Correspondent Anne Peterson of CBS News affiliate KCTV in Kansas City, Mo.

Fat intake is now at an all-time low, and obesity is at an all-time high. By overindulging in low-fat yet high-calorie foods, many people have gone overboard, experts say.

Most people cut out meat and dairy products because they're the most visible sources of fat. By eliminating milk products from your diet, you are also cutting out a major sources of calcium, vitamin D, and riboflavin. Avoiding meat can cut out sources of zinc, iron, niacin, riboflavin and B vitamins.

Other vitamins found in some fatty foods -- vitamins A, D, E, and K -- are important for a healthy diet, says Lester Crawford, a professor of nutrition at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

"These [vitamins] are essential to life -- without fat in a diet, they are not absorbed properly," Crawford says.

In addition, it's possible to prevent the onset of certain diseases if you include fatty foods in your diet. Monounsaturated fats help reduce the risk of heart disease and lab studies show that conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat found naturally in dairy products and red meat, may help prevent colon cancer.

According to Penny Chris Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Penn State University in Hershey, Pa., the saturated fat found in chocolate and meat contains stearic acid which, unlike other fatty acids, does not raise blood cholesterol levels.

The advice of health authorities to consume less fat has led to a fat phobia in America. It's time we eat these foods every so often, not just for enjoyment, but because it's good for us.