Trans fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat… we’ve all heard about them, but what do they mean and how can we avoid them, and do we need to?
The four types have different chemical structures and physical properties. The bad fats, saturated and trans fats, tend to be more solid at room temperature (like a stick of butter), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be more liquid (like liquid vegetable oil).
Fats can also have different effects on the cholesterol levels in your body. The bad fats, saturated fats and trans fats raise bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in your blood. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can lower bad cholesterol levels and are beneficial when consumed in moderation.
Because fats are so energy-dense, consuming high levels of fat – regardless of the type – can lead to taking in too many calories. That can lead to weight gain or being overweight. Consuming high levels of saturated or trans fats can also lead to heart disease and stroke. Health experts generally recommend replacing saturated fats and trans fats with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats – while still limiting the total amount of fat you consume.Be watchful of foods labeled “0 trans fat” or cooked with “trans fat-free” oils may contain a lot of saturated fats, which raise your bad cholesterol levels. “Trans fat-free” foods may also be unhealthy in terms of their general nutrient content. For example, baked goods tend to be high in added sugars and low in nutrients.
Eating foods with a moderate amount of fat is definitely part of a healthy diet. Just remember to balance the amount of calories you eat with the amount of calories you burn. Aim to eat more vegetables, fruits, whole-grain/high-fiber foods, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, and fish (at least twice a week). Doing so means that your diet will be low in both saturated fats and trans fats. Get healthy fats, from foods like avocados and almonds. The best way to avoid bad fats, stay away from fried foods and processed foods. Stick to CLEAN FOODS!
By avoiding these unhealthy fats, you will have more energy! All it takes is a little planning, and attention paid to what you are putting in your body. Look at the preparation of your foods and if they are higher in fat make sure to have a smaller portion of them!