Good and Bad Fats

We are constantly being told that fats are bad for us, yet some are actually needed in order for us to lose weight ..... it just all depends on their source!

The bad fats or the ones to avoid are a sub-set of fats called trans fats. These come in the artificial form of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils and are created by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. These types of fat raise the 'bad' cholesterol LDL but lower 'good' cholesterol HDL. This can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.

 The manufactured form of trans fats occurs in a variety of food products including:

  • Baked goods - Most cakes, biscuits, pie crusts, and crackers containing shortening.
  • Snacks - Potato and corn chips often contain trans fats. Many kinds of packaged or microwaved popcorn use trans fat to help cook or flavour it. 
  • Fried food - Foods that require deep frying, i.e. doughnuts, fried chicken
  • Creamer (non-dairy) and margarine 

 

Eating good/healthy fats

Good fats:

  • Maintain cell structure
  • Help the body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
  • Boost immunity
  • Give you healthy looking skin
  • Help your brain work
  • Lift your mood
  • Provide energy

Mono-unsaturated fats (good fats) are found in:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts

These help protect protect our hearts by maintaining levels of 'good' HDL cholesterol while reducing levels of 'bad' LDL cholesterol. 

Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats which means that they are required for normal body functions but your body cannot produce them. There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats; omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent and even treat heart disease and stroke. They also reduce blood pressure, raise HDL and lower triglycerides.

These healthy fats can be found in:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts

Omega-6 fatty acids have also been linked to protection against heart disease. Foods rich in linoleic acid and other omega-6 fatty acids include vegetable oils such as:

  • Safflower
  • Sunflower
  • Walnut