Dietary Fats: How to Choose the Good Fats and Ditch the Bad

Your body needs some fat to function normally. But it’s wise to choose the healthiest types of dietary fats and eat them in moderation. Take stock of dietary fats, including which types of fats are healthy to eat and which to avoid.

Fats: the good and bad sides

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the best choices. Look for products with little or no saturated fat and avoid trans fats. They raise blood cholesterol levels and may increase the risk of heart disease. And remember that all fats, good and bad, are high in calories, so measurement and moderation are key.

Good dietary fats

Monounsaturated fats are found in olive, canola and peanut oils, as well as in avocados and most nuts.
Polyunsaturated fats are found in other vegetable oils, such as safflower, corn, sunflower, soybean, sesame and cottonseed oils. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that help cells function.

bad dietary fats

Saturated fats are found in foods of animal origin, such as meat, poultry, lard, egg yolks, and whole dairy products, including butter and cheese. They are also present in cocoa butter and coconut, palm and other tropical oils, which are used in many cookies, baked goods and other processed foods.

Trans fatty acids, also called hydrogenated vegetable oils, are found in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine. Many foods also contain these unhealthy ingredients, including chips, cookies, cakes, pies, and other baked goods, as well as many candies, snacks, and chips.

Tips for choosing foods with the best types of dietary fat

First, focus on reducing foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Next, focus on food choices that include lots of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. But be careful, don’t go overboard, even when it comes to healthy fats. All fats, including healthy ones, are high in calories.

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Here are 4 tips to help you replace bad fats in your diet with good fats:

1) Use the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list when shopping for food. Look for the amount of trans fat listed. By law, a serving of food with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat can be labeled as 0 grams. It is therefore important to also check the ingredient list rather than just the Nutrition Facts table for the terms “trans fat” and “partially hydrogenated”.

2) Prepare fish, such as salmon and mackerel, instead of meat, at least twice a week for a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids.

3) Use liquid vegetable oil instead of solid fats. For example, fry your food with olive oil instead of butter, and use cplza oil for baking.

4) Use olive oil in salad dressings and marinades.


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