Healthy (vs. Unhealthy) Fats
First off, we’re here to tell you that yes, it’s okay to eat fat! You can kiss that low-fat diet goodbye! However, it is extremely important to have an understanding as to what fats are considered ‘good fats’ and which are considered ‘bad fats’ to help you stay on track.
Let’s start with the fats you want to avoid.
Commonly found in processed foods, these fats should be avoided as much as possible. Even the smallest amount can cause harm. Trans fats are either naturally occurring or are produced when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make a solid ‘fat’ to help preserve food and give flavor to fast food in an inexpensive way – this is known as partially hydrogenated oil.
Foods with Trans Fats: cakes, fast food, cookies, biscuits, doughnuts
A saturated fat is not as harmful as a trans fat, but is still unhealthy. Typically found solid at room temperature, they appear naturally in animal based foods, but should still be limited as they can lead to high blood pressure.
Foods with Saturated Fats: beef, lamb, pork, cream, cheese
Now let’s move on to the good stuff....
“Good fats” are unsaturated fats. These fats are typically found in oil form and come from plant sources, however they can also be found in fish! There are two types: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Most oils are considered monounsaturated fats. They help to regulate insulin and blood sugar levels, promote regular heart rhythms and reduce inflammation.
Foods with Monounsaturated Fats: olives, olive oil, avocado, and hazelnuts
Polyunsaturated fats are also responsible for lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk for heart disease.
Foods with Polyunsaturated Fats: walnuts, flaxseed, oysters, and fatty fish (e.g. salmon)
Of course, we need to be aware of the calories in food and portion out the right amount of what we’re eating, but fat plays an important role in your body. It provides energy, keeps you full, protects your organs and cells, and helps with absorption of vitamins.
It’s also worth noting that many “low fat” or “fat free” foods contain added flour, salt, starch, or sugar to improve flavor and texture after the fat is removed. These additives will be reflected in the nutrition facts and ingredients list, so just give that label a quick look.
Your Health Advisor can help you choose healthy fats, and enjoy them in the proper portions to achieve your health goals. If you're not yet a member of Pack Health, click here to see if you have one of the conditions we cover and get free, personalized support!
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