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The Facts About Fats For Healthy Diets

July 30, 2010

There is a place for fat in your diet. And when using the right fats in the best possible ways, you will be nourishing yourself! Good fats transport fat-soluble vitamins and give your body a concentrated source of energy. They help you feel satisfied and full after eating. Bad fats contribute to heart disease because they increase blood cholesterol levels. High cholesterol leads to the hardening of the arteries, which contributes to heart disease.

monosaturated fats olive oilBut it can be difficult to figure out which are the healthy fats and which are the ones to avoid. There are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats and trans fats. The good ones are the monounsaturated fats, which come from most nuts, canola, peanut, olive oils and avocados, and the polyunsaturated fats, which come from corn, safflower, soybean oils and fish.

The bad fats are the saturated fats, which come from whole milk, cheese, butter, coconut oil and meats; and trans-fats, which include shortening, most margarines, partially hydrogenated oil and most commercially baked goods.

Here are a few ways to keep them straight:

  • If it has “un” in it, it’s un-fattening!
  • If you put them in alphabetical order, the first two—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – are the good ones, and the last two—saturated and transfats—are bad.
  • The more liquid a fat is at room temperature, the more healthful. So, instead of using solid vegetable shortening, use liquid oils for cooking.

When choosing healthier foods, go for foods that have been broiled instead of fried, replace margarine with real butter, or even better, with extra-virgin olive oil, look for products which don’t use trans fats or saturated fats, eat more low-fat dairy and lean meats and be aware of the ingredients and serving sizes for foods such as salad dressing, nuts, sandwich spreads.

For more info, read FAT: TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT?