Contributing Author: The Tortoise
In Monday's post, we talked about the different kinds of fats, and the three categories of them. There is good news and bad news about fats. Today, let's start off with the bad news and end on a better note.
Fats can be divided into 'good' or 'bad' fats, depending on whether they help or harm the body. Saturated fats and trans fats are considered 'bad' fats because they cause changes to your body which increase cardiovascular risks. Saturated fats increase LDL ('bad' cholesterol) and triglyceride levels (a type of fat converted from excess calories and stored in the fat cells), raise your blood pressure, and narrow your blood vessels1. Trans fat, or partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil, is considered to be even worse for your health, because it raises your 'bad' (LDL) cholesterol while lowering your 'good' (HDL) cholesterol, a combination which increases the risk of heart disease even more2.
The Bad News Boys: Saturated and Trans Fats
Foods with Higher Levels of Saturated Fat
- Beef, Pork, Lamb, Goat meat
- Full-fat milk, Full-fat cheese, Butter
- Chicken thighs, Chicken skin
- Coconut oil, Palm oil
Foods with Partially Hydrogenated Oil, a Source of Trans Fat
- Baked goods containing shortening (cakes, cookies, pies, crackers)
- Ready-made frosting
- Snack foods (such as microwave popcorn), Potato crisps
- Non-dairy creamers, Margarines
- Any food fried in partially-hydrogenated oil
When information came to light about the health effects of trans fat on people, some producers of these foods developed new, trans fat free, formulations of their products.
Ready For Some Good News?
Foods with High Levels of ‘Good’ Fats
- Olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, corn oil
- Sesame seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios
- Salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout, sardines, bluefish, halibut
- Avocados, soybeans
1 Good Fats, Bad Fats, Eleanor Roberts
2 Trans fat is double trouble for your heart health, Mayo Clinic
3 Good Fats, Bad Fats, Eleanor Roberts
4 Dietary Fats: Know which types to choose, Mayo Clinic
Good Fats, Bad Fats, Eleanor Roberts
Foods High in Unsaturated Fat, Alia Butler, Livestrong.com
Eating Fish for Heart Health, American Heart Association
Polyunsaturated Fats, American Heart Association
Photos from Pixabay.