Health

The Facts on Fat: Saturated, Unsaturated and Trans

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With the rise of obesity rates here in the United States, the role of fats has become a hot topic.  There is so much information floating around, that it can be hard to distinguish the significant information from the unnecessary.  This will give you the important points you need to know about fats and what you can do to limit them in your diet.

Fats tend to get a bad rap, but they are vital to the functioning of our bodies.  One of their most important roles is that they work with certain vitamins and allows for the fat-soluble vitamins to be used fully by the body.  Fat is also used as one of the energy sources for the body, although it is not the preferred source, it can be used during certain situations.

The different types of fats can be confusing, but these are the main types you should pay attention to: saturated, unsaturated, and trans.  Each type of fat has important effects on the body and can be found within different food sources.

Saturated: This type of fat is usually found in animal-based products and is generally solid at room temperature.  This type of fat tends to be harmful because it can increase bad cholesterol (LDL) and it also increases total cholesterol.  Examples of foods with saturated fat present are butter, shortening, meat, and cheese.

Unsaturated: There are two types of unsaturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.  Both of these are generally found to be in a liquid state at room temperature.  These are the types of fats that are considered “good” for the body in moderate amounts because they can decrease total cholesterol levels.  Foods with high amounts of monounsaturated fats are olives, Hass avocados, olive oil and cashews. Polyunsaturated fats are found in sunflower, corn, and soybean oils.

Hass avocados are one of the best sources of monounsaturated fats you can find. In a 1 0z. serving these fruits contain 3 grams of monounsaturated fat, and that isn’t the only great thing about them! They also contain almost 20 vitamins and minerals and they act as a nutrient booster by allowing the body to absorb a greater amount of nutrients.  Hass avocados are great in guacamole, salads, soups, sandwiches, and more!

Trans: This type of fat comes about due to processing to make it more saturated.  This saturation tends to prevent the foods from going bad and helps to extend the shelf life; this quality is beneficial for distributors, but normally detrimental to your health.  These fats have been shown to increase bad cholesterol, LDL, while decreasing the good cholesterol, HDL.

Tips to manage dietary fats:

  • Purchase low-fat dairy products
  • Choose lean cuts of meat
  • Trade processed foods for fresh
  • Cook with vegetable oils instead of butter or margarine
  • Eat nuts, Hass avocados, and fish for a dose of healthy fats
  • Eat at restaurants less and cook at home more
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