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Is Fat Healthy To Eat?

Our bodies need fats for many reasons – to build cell membranes, absorb vitamins and minerals, keep us warm, give us energy and produce important hormones. This being said, there are four main types of fats, and it’s important to be able to differentiate between the “good” fats and the “bad.”

 

 Good Fats:

 

  1. Monounsaturated Fat: This type of fat is found in olive oil, avocados and in many nuts and seeds, such as peanuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. It can lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as help with weight loss.

 

  1. Polyunsaturated Fat: Omega-3 and omega-6 are types of polyunsaturated fat, another healthy and essential fat that we need to intake. Walnuts, sunflower seeds, fish and chia seeds all contain beneficial polyunsaturated fats that can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and help lower blood pressure.

 

Bad Fats:

 

  1. Saturated Fat: This type of fat is found in all animal foods, including dairy (cheese, butter, ice cream etc.) and meats. It also has some plant sources like coconut oil and palm oil. You will find saturated fat in many baked goods and fried foods, such as doughnuts, cakes and French fries. Consumption of saturated fat should be limited because it can cause buildup of LDL cholesterol and weight gain.

 

  1. Trans Fat: Trans fat is the most harmful of the fats – not only does it increase bad cholesterol, it also reduces levels of good cholesterol, causes inflammation, and greatly increases the risk of heart disease. Although it occurs naturally in some foods, most trans fat is artificially produced as a byproduct of hydrogenation. Despite being banned in the U.S., this fat could still be found in some stick margarines, vegetable stock, frozen pizza, coffee creamers, or microwaveable popcorn, so make sure to read labels carefully!

 

Overall, there are definitely certain fats to steer clear of. However, even though the word “fat” might be stigmatized, don’t overlook the importance of this food group because a healthy dose of the right kinds of fats is an integral part of a balanced diet.

 

By Francesca Fortier

 


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