Wouldn’t the world be a better place if all fats could be eliminated from our diet? That would give us one less thing to worry about, wouldn’t it? Certainly Not! Not all fats make a person have high cholesterol levels and cause potential heart diseases. As a matter of fact, eliminating fats from a diet entirely could prevent or slow down the effectiveness of muscle movements, hinder necessary blood clotting and deprive the body of a much-needed source of energy. Indeed, fats could be either good or bad. A knowledge of each is a good determinant of how much healthier your life could actually be.
Before we delve into which fats are what, let’s clear the air surrounding some myths concerning fats:
- A “fat-free” label on a product does not spell healthy! Many fat-free foods may contain higher amounts of sugar or calories.
- Eating fat does not make a person fat. Eating too much of the wrong kind of fat, or even the right kind, does! The correct kind of fat should be eaten in moderation.
- All fats are not the same. You’ll find below the different types of fats and how they can help or destroy you.
Good fats are those that reduce high cholesterol levels, lower triglyceride levels and blood pressure. They also stabilize heart rhythms and beautify the skin! Good fats are found in Monounsaturated Fats and Polyunsaturated fats when consumed in moderate quantities. (To know more about Mono and Polyunsaturated fats read The Truth about Fat)
Foods which are rich in the above include hazelnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, olive oils, pumpkin seeds, peanut oils, soy bean oils, tuna, sardines, salmon, herrings, trout, avocados, peanut butter, walnuts and soy milk among many others.
Bad fats are those which are high in cholesterol and calories. They raise the level of cholesterol in the blood, increase the risk of heart diseases, contribute to insulin resistance which increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and contributes to other chronic diseases. Bad fats are found in some Saturated fats but mainly Trans Fats. (To know more about Saturated and Trans Fats read The Truth about Fat)
Foods with high levels of Trans fat include microwave popcorn, potato and tortilla chips, coffee creamers, deep-fried foods, crackers, pizza, hamburgers, ready-to-use frostings, cookies, cakes, vegetable shortenings, stick margarines etc.
Ice-cream, cheese, butter, lard, palm oil, coconut oil, whole-fat dairy products, chicken with the skin and high-cut fats of beef, lamb or pork are examples of Saturated fat sources.
It is necessary to know that good fats (Mono and Polyunsaturated Fats) are very fragile and can be damaged. Oils that are high in Poly unsaturated fats must always be refrigerated to preserve them. If nuts or seeds should go bad, they should be thrown away immediately.
The following are suggestions to improve your diet using the “Good Fat” means:
- Make eggs, nuts and avocados are regular on your menu.
- Enrich your salads with olive oils, flax oils or sesame seed oils.
- Choose to bake your chicken instead of frying it.
- Cook with olive oil instead of margarine or butter.
- Generally avoid fast-food joints. Cook yourself a good nutritious meal from home where you can monitor what exactly you put into your body.