When we hear the word “fats”, the image that comes to our mind is almost always negative. This is due to the fact that numerous health problems are linked to fats ranging from damaging the heart to causing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. However, not all fats are the same. Some fats are actually beneficial for us.
In order to know which fats to consume and which ones to avoid, we divide the types of fats into two categories:
The two basic types of fat that are generally considered harmful for you are:
Saturated fats primarily come from animal-based products. They are considered very harmful to the heart and have been known to cause type 2 diabetes, clog the arteries, and increase the level of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol).
Saturated fats are mostly found in edibles like:
- Meat products (especially the fatty cuts)
- Poultry skins
- Dairy products like butter, cheese, and whole milk
- Palm and coconut oils
No more than 7% of your daily calories should account for saturated fats.
Trans fats are found mostly in fried fast foods and processed foods (they come from hydrogenated vegetable oils). 1g per day is the maximum limit for the consumption of trans fats without health risks. They have been known to decrease HDL levels in the body and increase LDL levels, hence they increase the risk of heart diseases by threefold.
Trans fats are generally found in:
- Processed foods like corn chips, microwave popcorns
- Baked goods like cookies and cakes
- Vegetable oils
It is preferable to completely avoid these fats from our diets in order to minimize health risks.
The Good fats
Fats that are considered healthy are unsaturated fats. There are two types of unsaturated fats:
These healthy fats have been known to improve the heart, lower the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and improve the cholesterol level in the blood. You can enjoy monounsaturated fats without the risk of obesity.
They are found in:
- Extra-Virgin olive oil
- Nuts like almonds and cashews
- Peanut Butter
These types of fats are mostly found in plant-based products and oils. Like monounsaturated fats, they too reduce the blood cholesterol levels. They also help in reducing the risk of blood clots.
Omega-3 is one type of poly-saturated fat that according to research has shown numerous health benefits. It helps the heartbeat steadily and also reduces the risk of coronary diseases.
Poly-Saturated fats are found in foods like:
- Coldwater fishes like salmon and sardines
- Non-hydrogenated margarine
- Seeds like sunflower seeds
- Canola Oils
Nowadays, people have become more educated about the different types of fats. This helps in deciding how to maintain a healthy diet. While occasional consumption of fast food and bad fats is acceptable, great care needs to be taken in order to ensure that it does not become a habit.it .