Posts Tagged ‘T rans fat’

Whether fat is your friend or foe, the better acquainted you are with each type, the better off you will be health wise.

Let’s face it, fat is a part of life. There is good fat and there is bad fat. Fat adds more flavor to food and that is what makes it so appealing to the taste buds. But fat has many negative points that can wreck havoc on your efforts to stay healthy and be slim and trim.

Let’s take the time to get better acquainted with fat, shall we? The more you know about fat the better able you will be to make the right food choices. Fat can be broken down into four different types. These include:

• Monounsaturated fat (good)
• Polyunsaturated fat (good)
• Saturated fat (bad)
• Trans fat (bad)

Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that are associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. These fats when at room temperature are in liquid form but they turn a cloudy consistency when put in the refrigerator. Plant oils such as canola oil, olive oil and peanut oil are some of the most common sources of monounsaturated fat. Other sources include avocados, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and nuts (such as almonds, hazel nuts and pecans).

Polyunsaturated fats are composed of essential fatty acids called the omega-3’s. You have likely heard of omega-3 before. The body cannot make omega-3 on its own and that is where this unique kind of fat comes into play. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in fish, flax seed, flax seed oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil and walnuts. Polyunsaturated fats remain liquids both at room temperature and in colder temperatures.

Now we turn to the flip side and look at those sneaky and not-so-nice bad fats …

Saturated fat increases the body’s low-density lipoprotein level (LDL). This is what most of us know as bad cholesterol. Having bad cholesterol means having too high a percentage of it in relation to good cholesterol (HDL). This increases your chances of failing victim to a heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. The primary sources of saturated fat are red meat, whole milk dairy products and tropical vegetable oils (such as coconut oil and palm oil). The less you consume of these food items the better it is for your health.

Trans fat has gotten a lot of media attention in the past year or so. While trans fat does all of the same unhealthy deeds as saturated fat does, it takes things up a notch and actually lowers the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in your system making you more vulnerable to a plethora of heart problems.

If you wonder how trans fats come into being then here is the skinny on it in brief: Trans fats are created by way of the hydrogenation process. Liquid vegetable oils are heated while in the presence of hydrogen gas. This process is done to preserve the shelf life of food items. This makes it beneficial for the manufacturers in terms of cost but not good for the individual who consumes these partially hydrogenated products.

The main sources of trans fats include vegetable shortenings, lard, and many types of margarines, cookies, crackers, fried foods, snack foods, baked goods and candies. There are many processed foods that are made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. If you see the word “hydrogenated” anywhere on the product label then run don’t walk away from it!

Now that you can separate good fats from bad fats you know which one is truly a fat friend and which one is a fat foe! Telling the difference can do your heart a tremendous service both for today and into your future.


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