Do you have trouble understanding the different types of fats that can be in foods? And the more you read and hear, the more confused you get? Let me see if I can clear some of the confusion up for you.
Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that these fatty acids may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.
Oils that contain monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.
Foods that contain monounsaturated fats include
- Olives and olive oil
- Avocados and avocado oil
- Canola oil
- safflower oil
- sesame oil
- many nuts and seeds
This is a type of fat found mostly in plant-based foods and oils. Evidence shows that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. These fatty acids may also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Omega-3 fatty acids: One type of polyunsaturated fat is made up of mainly omega-3 fatty acids and may be especially beneficial to your heart. Omega-3, found in some types of fatty fish, appears to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. There are plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. However, it hasn't yet been determined whether replacements for fish oil — plant-based or krill — have the same health effects as omega-3 fatty acid from fish.
Oils that contain polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.
Foods that contain polyunsaturated fats include
- Sunflower seeds and sunflower oil
- Flax seeds and flaxseed oil
- Canola oil – though higher in monounsaturated fat, it is also a good source of poly unsaturated fat
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
This is a type of fat that comes mainly from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Saturated fat raises total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat may also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature.
Foods that contain saturated fats include
- fatty beef
- poultry with skin
- beef fat
- lard and cream
- other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk.
- In addition, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats
Some plant-based oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, also contain primarily saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol. These are the saturated fats that are healthy for you to consume.
Most trans fats are made from oils through a food processing method called partial hydrogenation. These partially hydrogenated trans fats can increase unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
There are two broad types of trans fats found in foods: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats.
- Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals and foods made from these animals (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats.
- Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.
In no way am I providing my opinion on which fats are good or bad for you and do not believe that all the listed food choices are ideal options. I have chosen my words wisely, simply presenting the facts regarding the different types of fats and which foods contain the different types of fats, never stating what fats are good choices for you to consume and what fats are bad choices. In each category, there are a number of listed fats that I feel should be avoided. I will address the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly coming up in a future post. Stay Tuned...
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