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Knowing Your Fats

admin   9/9/2011 5:42 AM

Despite the fact that the expression ‘fat’ is taboo for nearly all dieters, good fats are significant for a healthy diet. However, it is fundamentally vital to distinguish good fats from bad fats.

Fats are vital to certain functions of the body such as energy, protect vital organs, promote cell growth, absorb nutrients and protect us from severe temperatures.

There are four main fats in the foods we eat. They are trans fats, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These four types of fats vary both chemically and physically and have dissimilar effects on the body. The bad fats are the trans fats and saturated fats and are contributors to high cholesterol levels; whereas the good fats are the monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated that lowers the cholesterol levels. In fact, good fats promote a healthy heart!

Since fats are high in calories, it is important your diet is balanced with foods that have small portions of fat. Another great way of ensuring your diet entails good fats is ‘substituting’. Make a practice of substituting bad fats with good fats at all times and make all efforts of eating lots of lean meats, fatty fish, vegetables, fresh fruits, high fiber foods and whole grains. There is a great deal to learn about good fats! But do not worry, as you develop a more ‘fat’ conscious diet, the familiarity of the roles and functions of good fats will climax while soon becoming second nature.

To get you started, here’s a list of good fats and bad fats!

GOOD FATS

Monounsaturated Fats - fatty acids that have a single double bond in the fatty acid chain and all the carbon atoms in the chain are single-bonded. By contrast, polyunsaturated fatty acids have more than one double bond.

  • Oil (olive, canola, sunflower, peanut, sesame)
  • Olives
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Peanut Butter

Polyunsaturated Fats - is an abbreviation of polyunsaturated fatty acid. That is a fatty acid in which more than one double bond exists within the representative molecule. Polyunsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature and when chilled.

  • Oil (corn, safflower, soybean, cottonseed)
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)

*Omega Fatty Acids - Omega-6 and omega-3 play a crucial role in brain function and in the normal growth and development of your body.

  • Fatty Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout and herring)
  • Walnuts, Peanuts, Flaxseed

BAD FATS

Saturated Fats - fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids.

  • Ground Beef, Fatty Beef or Pork
  • Lard
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Dairy products (whole or reduced)
  • Soybean, Coconut Oil, Palm & palm kernel oils (does not contain cholesterol)

Trans Fats - is the common name for a type of unsaturated fat with tans- isomer fatty acid(s). Trans fats may be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

  • Animal Products
  • Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats
  • Shortening
  • Margarine
  • Non-dairy creamers

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