The skinny on fats

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There are all kinds of fat in our foods.  Trans fat, hydrogenated fat, partially hydrogenated fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, etc, etc.  Learn the difference… between these fats to trim the pounds and inches from your body and get healthy.

Trans Fats or Hydrogenated Fats:

  • artificial fats that are oils treated by a hydrogenation process to be harder at room temperature and increase the shelf life of products that contain them
  • snack foods such as cookies, cakes, crackers, chips
  • salad dressings, margarine, and other foods made with partially hydrogenated oils or shortening
  • raise bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and lowers good cholesterol (HDL) levels

Saturated Fats:

  • solid at room temperature
  • raise cholesterol levels
  • mostly animal foods such as meat, milk, cheese
  • tropical oils such as coconut oil, cocoa butter, palm oil, palm kernel oil.
  • chicken and fish have less saturated fat than red meat

Unsaturated Fats:

  • liquid at room temperature, mostly from a plant source
  • lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels
  • Monounsaturated: avocado, nuts, seeds (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans), and canola, olive, and peanut oils
  • Polyunsaturated: omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids from fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, trout, and tuna, walnuts and flaxseeds, as well as corn, safflower, flaxseed, sunflower, soybean, and sesame oils

Fats are crucial for good health as they provide energy and facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble K, D, A and E vitamins. Fats also aid in hormone production and cell growth, protect your internal organs and regulate your body temperature.  For these reasons, fats should account for 30% of your daily calories.

So, which fats are the best?  Try to eat mostly unsaturated fats and use saturated fats sparingly, less than 10% of your daily calories.  Trans fats or hydrogenated fats should be avoided as much as possible.

4 thoughts on “The skinny on fats

  1. Excellent overview of the different fats and their properties and differences, thanks! I agree some of the right fats in a diet is important but an excess is not good (leads to obesity, atherosclerosis [deposits lining the blood vessels] and assciated cardio and joint and mobility problems etc!). To reduce fats in the diet in cooking foods, try grilling and NOT frying (which adds extra oil/fat!). Use my favourite..extra virgin olive oil if possible! Just use fats sensibly and sparingly in your diet but enjoy your cooking and food and drink in moderation and try to consume a balanced diet and drink some water to stay healthy! 🙂

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