Fats and Oils

Despite squizillans of weight loss programs crowing on about the benefits of a ‘no fat’ diet, it’s now pretty well known that not all fats and oils are bad. These days we hear about the ‘good’ fats in avocados and fish for example, and how they can benefit our health.

Lets discuss some of the terms we heard around the traps like:

- saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats,

- LDLs and HDLs

- essential fatty acids

- omega 3s and 6s.

The fat in animal meats and dairy products is what they call 'Saturated Fat’, and there’s really nothing good for you in these fats. The liver uses these fats to make low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) - or ‘bad cholesterol’.

'Polyunsaturated Fats' are found mainly in corn, soybean, safflower and sunflower oils. Polyunsaturates may actually lower your total blood cholesterol level, but unfortunately also may reduce your high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) - your ‘good’ cholesterol.

The ‘best’ fats are the 'Monounsaturated Fats'.

These are found mostly in vegetable and nut oils like peanut, olive and canola. These fats are the ‘good guys’ and seem to reduce the ‘bad’ LDLs without affecting the ‘good’ HDLs.

Most foods in fact have a combination of these three types of fat, but one of the types usually dominates. Hence when we call a fat a ‘saturated’ fat when it is composed primarily of saturated fatty acids.

Trans Fats are definately not the good guys.

These occur when polyunsaturated oils are altered through hydrogenation. These trans fats act much like saturated fats, increasing the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and reducing the beneficial HDL cholesterol.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are called essential for a reason. The body needs these fats for optimal health, and they cannot be made by the body. They must be supplied by the diet. There are omega 3 fatty acids and also omega 6 fatty acids.

Essential Fatty Acids

· Improve the skin and hair

· Reduce blood pressure

· Lower levels of ‘bad’ fats

· Reduce the risk of blood clots

· Are needed for normal brain development and functioning and

· Help with arthritis prevention.

Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fresh deepwater fish, fish oil and walnut, flaxseed (linseed) & canola oil. Omega 6s are found mainly in raw nuts and seeds, legumes and in primrose, sesame and soybean oils.

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