The Difference between Good Fats and Bad Fats:
Fat isn’t just fat period. There are many different kinds of fats, most of which are consumable by humans. In terms of nutrition, we all need fat as part of our daily diet in order to function and be healthy. As well as fats we need protein, vitamins and minerals and carbohydrates too.
Many people are put off by eating fat and try to have little fat in their diets at some points as they incorrectly assume that eating fat means that they’ll automatically gain more body fat. This is not at all the case as different fats digest in the body in different ways.
There are basically four different kinds of fat. These are; trans fats, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Obviously, as with everything, all fats must be consumed in moderation. Too much of anything is bad for us.
Trans fats should be avoided wherever possible. This is because they can increase the cholesterol in your bloodstream. Foods that are processed with hydrogenated oils or fats in them are likely to contain trans fats. These include most fried foods and takeaways as well as things like biscuits and sweet cakes. It’s also worth avoiding any hard margarines to keep away from any hidden trans fats.
Saturated fat is also known to increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Especially when eaten in larger portions. To avoid consuming saturated fats, it’s worth limiting portions when it comes to things like processed meats such as sausages or ham. Burgers are another one to avoid and fatty meats and harder cheeses (which also includes British cheddar) should be served in smaller quantities. Whole milk and cream contain a vast amount of saturated fats too; however these kinds of dairy products can be added to things in small amounts.
It does get better though. Monounsaturated fats can actually help the body to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, especially through foods such as avocados, olives and even rapeseed oil. Many types of seeds and nuts including almonds and cashews are a brilliant source of monounsaturated fats too.
Polyunsaturated fats can be great for the body too and can help with cholesterol levels. These are the type of fats that provide those essential fatty acids, so it’s best to make an effort to include these in a healthy, balanced diet. Oily fish including mackerel and salmon are great for this as well as sesame oil, flaxseed (can be added to smoothies and shakes), and other nuts including walnuts and pine nuts which have a great taste and can be added to a lot of different dishes.
As mentioned, moderation is key but some fats should be avoided completely where possible, especially in terms of trans fats. All dietary information can be found online for each food group as well as health and nutrition books and most food packages sources in supermarkets worldwide.