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Myth: Fatty acids are bad for you

Not all fats are the same. The body uses certain types of fatty acids to build cell membranes and other important and fundamental body components. In moderate and recommended amounts, which may be lower than most Australians consume, fat is needed by the body. The kind of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are especially important for building and maintaining brain tissue and the retina of the eye. They are most readily available from seafood, but tiny amounts can be made from the plant-based omega-3 found in flax oil, walnuts and canola oil. The plant-based omega-3, while healthful, is not as effective as the omega-3s in seafood. Omega-3 fatty acids help protect against cardiovascular disease (when foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are substituted for foods high in saturated fats, and when fat in the diet is kept to recommended levels), because they reduce abnormal heart rhythms, lower blood triglyceride levels, slow the rate of plaque formation and improve arterial health. They can also reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke.


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