Do you know the difference between good fats and bad fats? One of the reasons why people avoid chocolate, ice cream, sugary treats and pastries is because they are loaded with fat. And we all know that eating too much fatty foods can result in weight gain and health issues. However, not all fats should be treated equally. Below is a simple guide to ensure that your family is getting the right fats in their foods for a balanced and healthy diet.
The Bad Fat Saturated
Saturated fat is found in items that are naturally solid at room temperature. Think butter, cheese and the fat in your chicken. Saturated fat is made out of animal fat and is definitely not something that you should be consuming on a regular basis. Saturated fat, while okay in low dosage, ups your chance of high cholesterol and blocks your arteries which can lead to plenty of other health problems. Too much saturated fat can also result in weight gain. There are many every day products, like cheese and butter, that come in a lighter version and often this means the saturated fat has been cut.
The Good Fat Unsaturated
Unsaturated fats are the good ones. They are naturally liquid at room temperature and can be found in things like olive oil and canola oil. They are also found in the oils in many nuts and seeds as well as in foods like fish and avocados. Yes, while they do have a high fat rating on the nutritional guide, you are getting the good type of fats that increase HDL levels (the good form of cholesterol) and lower the bad form.
The Wicked Fat Trans Fat
Trans fats are the evil witch in the world of fats and it’s easy to see why once you know what they are exactly. These fats not only increase the bad cholesterol levels and decrease the good ones, but they are also chemically modified. Trans fats are naturally liquid at room temperature but due to the chemically modified process known as hydrogenation, they are made into solids. Trans fats are usually found in shelf items, fast food and junk food, and are used to add taste to the food. Some of the worst trans fatty foods include pie crust, chips, fries, anything battered, cake mixes, pancakes, frosting and margarine. Make sure you read the labels as some non-obvious foods also make the no-no list including some crackers, cookies, biscuits, nondairy sweeteners, meat sticks and ground beef.
While every health guru has a different opinion on how much fat you should be getting, the general consensus is that around 10 to 25 percent of your daily consumption should be the good kinds of fats. Make sure you are upping your daily dosage of things like almonds, avocadoes and olive oil. And, when you are browsing for junk food and treats for the kids, take a look at the back of the package to see what types of fats are being used. The health food section will generally carry a good stock of healthy treat alternatives that are baked, not fried, and that contain the good fats rather than the bad.