For years I’ve heard people talk about ‘good fats vs bad fats’ but never quite knew which was which. Well, according to the American Medical Association, I have my answer.
Fats in food transport some vitamins through the bloodstream and help your body store energy. They make food taste smooth and creamy and help make you feel full. Oils from nuts, seeds, and vegetables as well as fats from seafoods provide healthy benefits and can reduce your risk of heart disease. These fats, known as unsaturated fats, are usually liquid.
Monounsaturated Fats – Olive, canola, and peanut oils are the main sources of monounsaturated fats, and the healthiest fats you can eat. The lower LDL (the so-called bad cholesterol) and raise HDL )good cholesterol) I the blood, helping lower heart disease risk.
Polyunsaturated Fats – These fats, which are essential for good health, include corn, sunflower, safflower, flaxseed, and soybean oils, as well as the oils in fatty fish such as salmon. Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, they lower total cholesterol (but also cut HDL cholesterol).
Plant Sterols – Nuts, seeds, and many other pant foods contain substances called plant sterols that slow the absorption of dietary cholesterol and can lower LDL and total cholesterol levels in the blood. Soft margarines and salad dressings with added plant sterols are available in most stores.
Foods high in saturated and trans fats can increase your risk for heart disease and some forms of cancer. These kinds of fats are usually solid and semisolid at room temperature, although they may turn liquid when heated. It’s not possible to avoid all harmful fats because they occur in many foods, but it’s best to cut back wherever you can.
Saturated Fats – Plentiful in met, dark-meat poultry and poultry skin, butter, full-fat dairy products, coconut oil, and palm oil, saturated fats increase total blood cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Limit these fats, along with trans fats, to no more than 8 to 10 percent of your total daily calories.
Trans Fats – Stick margarine and shortening contain hydrogenated oils that raise total blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. Called trans fats, they are also common in packaged and processed foods, baked goods, and fried foods such as French fries.
Cholesterol – Egg yolks, liver, shellfish, and full-fat dairy products are rich in cholesterol, which can raise blood cholesterol, which can raise blood cholesterol, although it does not do so in all people. Saturated and trans fats have a great impact on blood cholesterol than does dietary cholesterol.