Separating “Fat” from Fiction
The word "fat" often conjures negative thoughts unhealthy foods. However, fats are actually essential in our daily lives. Fat helps give our bodies energy, protects your organs, supports cell growth, keeps cholesterol and blood pressure under control, and helps us absorb vital nutrients.
When you focus too much on cutting out all fat, you can actually deprive your body of what it needs most. However, consuming too much fat, especially trans fat and saturated fat can lead to obesity and other medical conditions.
Saturated fats raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol level. High LDL cholesterol puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and other major health problems. You should avoid or limit foods that are high in saturated fats. Foods with a lot of saturated fats are animal products, such as butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, cream, and fatty meats. Some vegetable oils, such as coconut, palm, and palm kernel oil, also contain saturated fats. These fats are solid at room temperature.
Eating unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats can help lower your LDL cholesterol. Most vegetable oils that are liquid at room temperature have unsaturated fats. There are two kinds of unsaturated fats: Mono-unsaturated fats, which include olive and canola oil and polyunsaturated fats, which include safflower, sunflower, corn, and soy oil.
Trans fatty acids are unhealthy fats that form when vegetable oil goes through a process called hydrogenation. This leads the fat to harden and become solid at room temperature. Hydrogenated fats, or "trans fats," are often used to keep some foods fresh for a long time. Trans fats are also used for cooking in some restaurants. They can raise LDL cholesterol levels in your blood. They can also lower your HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Here are some examples of foods with what are considered healthy fats. Please note all fats are usually high in calories so eat them sparingly.
When it comes to nuts, there are endless possibilities Nuts provide healthy fats, but they are also high in calories so no more than a handful should doit. Try to avoid avoid ones that are high in salt and oils. Some great examples are almonds and cashews.
Cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, striped bass, and sardines are some of the best sources of healthy fats. They are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which studies show can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disase.
Olive oil has been found to be beneficial to our blood cholesterol levels. It is also a good source of vitamin E. On top of that, other oils like canola and vegetables oil have loads of monosaturated fats and have also been proven to lower blood cholosrestrol levels. Canola oil is also high in alpha-linolenic acid and linolenic acids.
Fats and fibers can help us feel fuller. Avocados provide a unique combination of these nutrients. A 2019 study in Nutrients suggests that this fruit’s load of monounsaturated fats and fiber can suppress hunger in adults who are overweight and obese. The research also indicates that avocado can reduce post-meal insulin demand.