Facts on Fat
What You Should Know When it Comes to Fat
All this fuss about fat! At Sharing Self-Improvement we will help you identify the good, the bad and the darn right ugly and show you that oh no, all fats are not created equal!
First of all, you may need to re-think about your relationship with fat on the basis that they are indeed a necessary part of your diet. And like any good relationship, the best parts provide the most nourishment, help and support. So let’s look at developing the best with the view of leaving the rest behind, and some as far behind as possible for that matter!
Fats are here to stay and stay they should because they are good for you and support your overall health. They provide essential fatty acids and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Fat also plays a part in metabolic regulation and nutrient absorption and is a good source of energy fuel.
So what are these Good Fats which are an essential part of a healthy diet? Let’s start with the Unsaturated Fats:
Monounsaturated Fats (the Good)
It is no accident that the fat found in plant foods, is at the top of the fat list. Monounsaturated fat lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) which accumulates in and clogs artery walls. Monounsaturated fat maintains levels of HDL cholesterol (the ‘good cholesterol’) which carry cholesterol from your artery walls and delivers it to the liver for disposal.
Polyunsaturated Fat (the Good)
While still pretty high on the fat list because they also help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, polyunsaturated fat is less stable than monounsaturated fat. This means that they can reduce levels of good fat as well as bad. However polyunsaturated fats are home to the Omega 3 fatty acids which are found mostly in cold water fish, nuts and seeds. They are thought to help depression, lower blood pressure, combat LDL (bad) cholesterol, fight inflammation, lower triglycerides and protect the brain and nervous system.
Now let’s look at some facts on the less desirable Fats, and why they should be reduced as much as possible from your diet. These of course are the notorious Saturated Fats.
Years ago the mere mention of the word saturated would send the world of nutrition into a fat frenzy.
So what has changed?
Recent research has challenged the association of LDL (bad) Cholesterol found in saturated fat with heart disease and stroke and found no link between the two. Some types of saturated fats have been completely exonerated such as ‘Stearic acid’ found in animal products and dark chocolate. The body converts this fat to oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat. Like- wise ‘Lauric acid found abundantly in coconut oil has ditched its ’bad fat’ image and later we will delve deeper into the possible health benefit of this particular fat.
Saturated Fats (the Bad)
These artery clogging fats are found mainly in animal products such as butter, fatty red meat, eggs seafood and full fat dairy products. Plant based sources of saturated fats are found in coconut oil and palm fruit oil.
This fat remains solid at room temperature and can be an important source of vitamins and minerals.
Although saturated fat still remains resident on the bad fat list, the jury may still be out on whether to tarnish all saturated fats with the same brush. However there is no question on the judgement of the next fat on our list. The deadly Trans Fat.
Trans Fat (the Ugly)
Guilty on all counts of raising LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowering HDL (good) cholesterol increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. They are the ‘run as fast as you can in the opposite direction’ fat and should be cut out of your diet altogether.
They will reap havoc on your waistline and should have no place on your healthy weight loss programme.
Trans- fats are man-made fats created by adding hydrogen to liquid oil to give a longer shelf life, great for the manufacturer, not so good for you! They are found in fried food, shortening, processed and packaged foods.
Due to the high risk they pose to your health, trans-fat, by law must be clearly labelled on all man made food products. So look for the word ‘hydrogenated’ on all your food labels so you can easily skip to the next aisle or better still, to the nearest health food store.
With the information provided on this page, you should be able to steer way clear of food in the category of bad fat.
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