Everyone seems to have an opinion about fats. Are they good? Are they bad? The truth is, some are healthy and others are not.
Fats are actually essential to your overall health because they support a number of your body’s functions. The key is choosing “healthy” fats, eliminating those that don’t do anything positive for your body and finding the right combination of fats and other nutritious foods so that you have a balanced diet.
There are two particularly unhealthy fats:
Saturated fats are bad because they raise cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. They are mostly found in animal foods like red meat and full-fat dairy milks and cheeses. That said, certain animal products—like chicken and fish—have less. Saturated fats can also be found in certain oils, like coconut or palm oil, and butters, all of which can be found in popular snacks, cakes, cookies and even coffee creamers. In short, saturated fats can be hidden in some of our favorite foods!
Trans fats are bad because they raise total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Most trans fats are made from oils through a food-processing method called partial hydrogenation, which increases the shelf life of the fat. Increasing its shelf life makes trans fat the perfect addition to processed foods we might eat all the time, like chips, crackers, baked goods, margarine and even dressings we put on our “healthy” salads.
These two fats are better for us, in moderation:
These fats can actually improve blood cholesterol levels, lower LDL cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetes, when eaten in select amounts. They are found in foods like avocado, nuts and olive oils.
Polyunsaturated fats come in two types, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. These fats can also improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetes, when eaten in select amounts. They are mostly found in plant-based foods and oils and seafood.
Here are some simple ways to make sure you’re eating the right fats:
To your health!