The “F-word” isn’t really a bad word. FAT gets a bad rep, especially since fat can actually help you lose fat. Yes, let that sink in. However, not all fats are created equal. The fat community is full of some good angels, bad bullies and the straight up fugly. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults get 20-35 percent of their calories from fats. So eating the right kinds of fat can help you lose weight, improve your mood and can boost your immune system. Kiss low fat everything goodbye and welcome back healthy fat starting now.
The Good Angels
Did you know that the good angel fats are twins? Meet monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Not identical in function but both equally good, so here is the deal on this dynamic duo: Monounsaturated fats, known as MUFAs, raise good HDL cholesterol, lower bad LDL cholesterol, and protect against the buildup of plaque in your arteries. They also help prevent belly fat. So to keep your cholesterol levels and tummy under control by getting you some olive oil, olives, canola oil, almonds, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, sesame seeds, and avocados. And polyunsaturated fats, which contain essential omega-3 fatty acids, help in lowering your LDL, boosts your brain function, may help strengthen your immune system and improves your mood. Get these angel babies in by moderately loading up on salmon, mackerel, herring, canola oil, flaxseed, walnuts and tofu.
The Big Bad Bullies
Saturated fats- watch out for these boys on the street. They are bound to raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease. Where do these bad boys roll? In meat and poultry, in dairy products like cream and butter, in whole and 2 percent milk, and in some plant foods like coconut and palm oil. So while good girls like bad boys, keep your relationship with these baddies in moderation. Limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of your total daily calories.
Trans Fats ought be ashamed of themselves! Disguising their fugliness under the name “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” these unsaturated fats are bad as it gets since they have been chemically altered to prolong their shelf life. Think packaged and processed foods. Trans fats raise bad LDL and lower good HDL, therefore increasing inflammation throughout the body. They are the poster boys for heart disease and you can find them spreading their evil in shortening, margarine, doughnuts, french fries, and processed foods such as crackers, cookies, chips, and cakes. How much do you need? A little over zero.