If you are the kind of person who likes to buy fat-free products only, it might be time to rethink this approach. This is because the time of considering all dietary fat as bad is long gone. Fats are important as they help to give your body energy. They also help to make you stay warm and help in the production of cells and hormones. Good fat is also essential for the wellbeing of your heart, brain and the absorption of vitamins.
You should know the difference between good fat and bad fat.
Trans Fats Are Bad
These fats are usually produced when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil in order to make it solid. This results in the production of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. These fats are usually added to processed food to make them last for a long time without going bad. You can find this kind of fat in fast food, cakes, biscuits, margarine, candy, French fries, crackers and muffins. Just because the product states that it is fat-free doesn’t mean that this is true. The quantity of fat in the product could be so little that the manufacturers are not required to list it in the ingredients list.
Trans fats are bad as they raise bad cholesterol levels while decreasing good cholesterol levels. They cause inflammation and can negatively affect your heart.
To avoid this kind of fat, always check the ingredients list in the products that you buy and check if there’s any mention of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
Saturated Fats Are Not So Bad
Saturated fats are good fats. These fats can be found in solid form at room temperature-apart from coconut oil and palm oil. These fats can be found in fat parts of meat, butter, dairy products, cheese, candy and foods that have been fried or processed.
However, howmuch fat should you eat?
According to research, these fats are not as bad as initially thought. The fat in itself is not bad. What makes it bad is eating it together with high glycemic carbohydrates which will raise your cholesterol levels.
According to the American Heart Association, the total amount of saturated fat in the diet of women should not exceed 7 percent of the total calorie count in a day. If you have a family history of heart disease, then this should be 5-6%.
Polyunsaturated Fats Are Good
Polyunsaturated fats are good fats as they help to decrease your cholesterol levels. An example of this kind of fat is Omega 6 and Omega 3. Since our bodies cannot produce these kinds of fat, we must obtain them from our diet.
You can get Omega 6 from margarine, sunflower, soybeans, salad dressings, mayo and safflower. For women, 2% of this should form your total calorie count.
Omega 3 can be obtained from flax seeds, salmon, sardines, walnuts, tofu, herring and tuna. These fats boost brain function and improve memory. They reduce the risk of heart disease and is important for your baby’s growth when you are pregnant.
Monounsaturated Fats Are Great
They can be found in nuts, avocado, olives, grape seeds, olive, safflower, canola oils and vegetable oils. Monounsaturated fats not only lower bad cholesterol but they increase the good cholesterol levels.
Benefits of Fat
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats have many benefits:
- Absorb Vitamins - These fats help in the absorption of vitamin A, K, D and E. For instance, when eating salads, adding salad dressing or avocado will make it possible for your body to absorb nutrients from the salad.
- Stay Full - It takes fats a lot of time to break down in your body, therefore, you will fill fuller for longer.
- Avoid Crashing -Taking fats helps to stabilize your blood sugar and prevents spikes and deeps. For example, eating bread with some olive oil will keep your sugar level stable as opposed to just eating bread alone.
- Control Your Appetite - Fats makes your food tastier.
- Promote Weight Loss - Since you will stay fuller for longer, you will end up eating much less than usual. Try and get at least 20% of your daily calorie count from good fats.