Good fat, bad fat


Good fat, bad fat

Know which fats are good for you and which ones to avoid.

The general wisdom for many years that all fat should be avoided.

Unsaturated fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat - just stay away from them all. But now scientists realize that the fat - and how our bodies handle it - is much more complicated.

Our bodies need some fat for optimum performance. But we need the right kinds of fat, we need to practice moderation. Some fats are actually good for you, and others should be avoided at any cost. 

How do you know which is which?

Fats: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Alexa Schmidt, RD, a clinical nutritionist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats "good fats" that saturated fat can be consumed in moderation.

Trans fats, however, should be completely avoided, adds Schmidt, explaining that unsaturated fats are dangerous because they raise cholesterol levels in the blood. High levels of certain types of cholesterol, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the so-called "bad cholesterol") increase the risk of heart disease and other health conditions, including stroke.

How can we know what foods contain fat? 

As a general rule, says Schmidt, "fats that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil, is the best choice of foods that are semi-solid, such as butter or margarine." The following tips will help you choose a diet rich in fat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated and low in saturated fat.

Mono-unsaturated fats (unsaturated fats) are good sources of monounsaturated fats, canola oil, olive oil, avocados and most nuts.

Tip: avocado spread on bread instead of cheese. The use of olive oil and garlic instead of whole milk and butter to the evolution of delicious mashed potatoes.

Poly-unsaturated fats (unsaturated fats):

 There are two types of polyunsaturated fats, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Since most Americans are getting a lot of omega-6 fats in their diet from vegetable oils, and Schmidt says her main concern is the omega-3 fatty acids. Good sources of omega-3 fats are fish (salmon and tuna), flaxseed, and walnuts.

Tip: Snack on a handful of nuts, or add a tablespoon of ground flax seed to oatmeal in the morning or grain. You can also add ground flaxseed when baking cakes or cakes to boost Omega.

Saturated fats: red meat and fatty meats such as salami, dairy products such as cream, butter and vegetable oils thicker, such as coconut and palm kernel oil and saturated fat sources.

Tip: Enjoy a steak every now and then, but in an attempt to limit saturated fat to 10 percent of your diet, at most.

Unsaturated fats: Made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, a process that aims to extend the shelf life of canned goods, and no saturated fat in a wide range of canned and processed foods, including bakery items, cakes, and biscuits.

Bottom line? 

You are educated shopper: Know what to look for and potential pitfalls. Try to do the majority of your shopping at the perimeter of the grocery store, and reduce your trips to the bottom of the interior hallways - where most of the perpetrators are unsaturated fats found. In the vicinity, you can focus on frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, fish, whole grains, fresh from the bakery cuts. Add a little olive oil, and it will be really cooking!