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Know About Good and Bad Fat

Know About Good and Bad Fat

Category : health , 2 years ago

For years, nutritionists and doctors have preached that a low-fat diet is the key to losing weight, managing cholesterol, and preventing health problems. But more than just the amount of fat, it’s the types of fat you eat that really matter. Bad fats increase cholesterol and your risk of certain diseases, while good fats protect your heart and support overall health. In fact, good fats such as omega-3 fats are essential to physical and emotional health.

To understand good and bad fats, you need to know some information about them. There are four major types of fats:

  • Monounsaturated fats (good fats)
  • Polyunsaturated fats (good fats)
  • Trans fats (bad fats)
  • Saturated fats (bad fats)

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health. 

Monounsaturated Fat: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Sesame Oil, Peanut Oil, Olives, Avocados, Nuts (Almonds, Peanuts, Hazelnuts, Cahews), Peanut Butter.

Polyunsaturated Fat: Corn Oil, Sunflower Oil, Soybean, Walnuts, Flaxseed, Fatty Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Herring, Trout, Sardines), Soymilk, Tofu

Saturated fats and trans fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol.

Appearance-wise, saturated fats and trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature (think of butter or traditional stick margarine), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid (think of olive or corn oil).

Saturated Fat: High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork), Chicken with the skin, Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream), Butter, Cheese, Ice cream, Palm Oil.

Trans Fat: Bakery items (Pastries, Cookies, Doughnuts, Muffins, Cakes, Pizza dough), Packaged snack foods (Crackers, Microwave popcorn, chips), vegetable shortening, Fried Foods (French Fries, Fried Chicken, Chicken Nuggets, Breaded fish) and candy bars.

General guidelines for choosing healthy fats: If you are concerned about your weight or heart health, rather than avoiding fat in your diet, try replacing trans fats and saturated fats with good fats. This might mean replacing fried chicken with fresh fish, swapping some of the meat you eat with beans and legumes, or using olive oil rather than butter.

  • Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Check food labels for trans fats. Avoiding commercially-baked goods goes a long way. Also limit fast food.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods. Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions.
  • Eat omega-3 fats every day. Good sources include fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.

How much fat is too much?  How much fat is too much depends on your lifestyle, your weight, your age, and most importantly the state of your health. The USDA recommends that the average individual:

  • Keep total fat intake to 20-35% of calories
  • Limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your calories (200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet)
  • Limit trans fats to 1% of calories (2 grams per day for a 2000 calorie diet)

Reduce the Saturate Fats (Bad Fat):  Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as red meat and whole milk dairy products. Poultry and fish also contain saturated fat, but less than red meat.

Simple ways to reduce saturated fat

  • Eat less red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and more fish and chicken
  • Go for lean cuts of meat, and stick to white meat, which has less saturated fat.
  • Bake, broil, or grill instead of frying.
  • Remove the skin from chicken and trim as much fat off of meat as possible before cooking.
  • Avoid breaded meats and vegetables and deep-fried foods.
  • Choose low-fat milk and lower-fat cheeses like mozzarella whenever possible; enjoy full-fat dairy in moderation.
  • Use liquid vegetable oils such as olive oil or canola oil instead of lard, shortening, or butter.
  • Avoid cream and cheese sauces, or have them served on the side.

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