Are you confused about fats and oils in your diet?
There has been a trend to eliminate fats to lose weight and try to be healthy. Eliminating dietary fats is not good for the body.
We need dietary fats. It is impossible to eliminate them totally as fat is found in most foods; even green peas and carrots have small amounts of fat in them.
Dietary fats help with many basic functions in the body:
- Protects your organs
- Helps keep your body warm.
- Fats help your body absorb “fat-soluble” vitamins A, D, E and K and stores them in the liver and in fatty tissues for future use.
- Cholesterol which is created by fat produces important hormones like estrogen and testosterone.
Yes, we need fat but usually not as much as we usually eat.
There are three main dietary fats. Each fat has different chemical structures and physical properties.
- Unsaturated Fats (called the good fats) can improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation and stabilize heart rhythms. They are liquids at room temperature.
Two types of unsaturated fats:
- Monosaturated Fats are found in high concentrations in olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
- Polyunsaturated Fats are found in high concentrations in sunflower, corn, soybean, flaxseed oils, walnuts, flax seeds, and fish. Omega-3 fats are one important type of polyunsaturated fat. The body can’t make these, so they must come from food.
Most of us don’t get enough of these healthy unsaturated fats. The traditional Greek diet gets up to 30 percent of its calories from monounsaturated fats, mostly from olive oil.
- Trans Fats raises bad cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease. Even worse they lower good cholesterol! The American Heart Association advises to limit trans fat daily consumption to less than 1%.
Scientists have now established that trans fats found in many fast foods, bakery products, and margarines—increase the risk of cardiovascular disease through inflammatory processes.
- Saturated Fats according to old research raises blood cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Foods containing saturated fat include: Lard, pork, regular ground beef, bologna, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, full-fat cheese, ice cream, whole milk, sour cream, butter, palm oil, coconut oil, chicken and turkey skin. Butter IS Better! Butter and other saturated fats don’t have the health risks we once thought they did.
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