Know Food Now Good Fats vs. Bad Fats - How to Make Healthy Eating Decisions | Know Food Now

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats - How to Make Healthy Eating Decisions 
Making healthy choices about what we eat is a constant struggle.  Choices about fat consumption are the most important food decisions we make. A recent Harvard study showed that "What really matters is the type of fat and the total calories in the diet."

All fats contain 9 calories per gram.  Fats are high in calories. But good fats contribute to overall health and bad fats do not.

Good fats are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. They are liquid at room temperature.  Eaten in moderation, monounsaturated fats lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing LDL cholesterol. These fats help nourish  cells and are typically high in vitamin E.  Polyunsaturated fats perform as monounsaturated fats and they contain the essential fats omega-6 and omega-3, not produced by our bodies.

Monounsaturated fatPolyunsaturated fat
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter

Bad fats are solid at room temperature. Imagine them clogging your arteries. 

Saturated fatTrans fat
  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Lard
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Candybars

The easiest way to make certain you choose good fats when you shop is to stay out of center aisles of your grocery store. Practice substitution by choosing olive oil over butter, white meat instead of red meat, skim milk over whole milk, frozen yogurt over ice cream, etc. Add fish to your diet to make sure you get omega-3's.

When you start forming healthy habits, choosing good fats over bad fats will cease to be a struggle.

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