Fats are Fabulous! But which fats are good and which are bad?

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Fats are an essential part of our diet, (our body needs them).  Fats give our body energy, help our cells to grow, produce important hormones, protect our organs, and they help us warm. (Our body definitely needs fat – but not as much fat as most people eat.  However, many problems are associated with excessive intake of dietary fat, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer.)

Ok so you hear about trans-fat, saturated fat, mono unsaturated, poly unsaturated.  It can be so confusing.  I am hopefully going to make it plain and simple for you.

There are four major dietary fats in the foods we eat: saturated fats, trans-fats, mono-unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated fats and trans fats are the bad fats.  They raise our bad cholesterol LDL, lower our HDL or good cholesterol and increase our risk of heart disease.  They are solid at room temperature (like butter).  These fats are found in fatty cuts of red meat, lard, butter, cheese, cream, coconut and palm oil.

Most commercially baked products such as cookies, cakes, donuts and pastries even candy bars have these horrible saturated fats in them.  Also anything with “hydrogenated” is terrible for us.  Unfortunately, hydrogenated foods are consumed in large amounts in our American diet because fast food is fried in partially hydrogenated oil.  Please stay away from these.

Ok so pay close attention because here are the great fats:

Mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the good fats, they lower the LDL or bad cholesterol, can raise our HDL or good cholesterol, and are healthful to the heart. These fats tend to be liquid at room temperature (like vegetable oil).  These fats are oils such as olive, safflower, sunflower, canola, peanut, corn and soybean. (Safflower is the best oil to use). Foods such as avocados, seeds and nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts are full of polyunsaturated oils. Yummy.

Many of the polyunsaturated fats contain “essential fatty acids”,  which  are fats are bodies cannot make on its own and we must obtain through food   Omega 3 fatty acid is an example of an essential fat, which is found in fish (salmon & tuna), walnuts and canola oil.

Remember everything in moderation, to live a long healthy life.

So fats are fabulous, you just have to eat the right ones.