When I first started learning about eating healthier I kept seeing “good fats” and “bad fats” … My immediate thought was that ALL fats were BAD fats. Well, that isn’t so much the case. After doing a little research I learned that fat is important in a healthy diet. Fats protect and insulate nerves along with help keeping the heart beating in a normal rhythm. Fats slow digestion, whichs provides a source of energy and satisfies the appetite for longer periods. Fats also make it possible for the absorption of vitamins A,D, E and K. Whaaaat???! Who knew, right?!
With all of that said, please do not run to the nearest fast food joint to load up. Consuming large amounts of any kind of fat is still bad. Speaking of bad … “bad fats” are associated with an increased risk in various cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. Oy! Noooo bueno, ladies and gents.
Wanna know what these fats are called?
1. Monounsaturated Fats: These fats are generally liquid at room temperature, but turn slightly solid when chilled. These fats can be found in avacados, salmon, tuna (canned oil pack), nuts (like almonds, hazelnut cashews and pistachios), and also some oils (such as sunflower oil, olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil).
2. Polyunsaturated Fats: These fats are more solid than monounsaturated fats but less so than saturated fats. This makes polyunsaturated fats also liquid at room temperature. These fats are found in fatty fish, nuts and seeds (like peanuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds), and also most plant oils (such as sunflower, safflower and canola).
1. Saturated Fats: These fats are solid at room temperature. They are derived from animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs. But they are also found in some plant-based sources (such as coconut, palm and palm kernel oils).
2. Trans Fats or Hydrogenated Fats: Trans fats are used to extend the shelf life of processed foods, typically cookies, cakes, fries and donuts. These fats are actually unsaturated fats, but can raise bad cholesterol levels while also lowering good cholesterol levels. Any item that contains “hydrogenated oil” or “partially hydrogenated oil” likely contains trans fats. Hydrogenation is the chemical process that changes liquid oils into solid fats.
- Look here to view the importance of reading and understanding the ingredients in our foods.