For years, low-fat diets were considered essential to preventing health problems and losing weight. But not all fats are the same; some can even help you shed a few pounds. Here’s the down and dirty truth about fats:
- Trans fats: These are the bad fats. Trans fats raise your LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and lower your HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), resulting in an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. No more than 2g per day is recommended and avoiding fried food is a must, along with modern processed oils such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, and canola. Be wary of ‘fat-free’ foods as well, because they often contain ‘partially hydrogenated’ oils and are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories.
- Monounsaturated fats: This is a good fat. Monounsaturated fats can protect and raise HDL cholesterol levels, lowering your risk of heart disease, while also benefiting insulin and blood sugar levels. Examples include avocados, olives and nuts, and traditional, cold-pressed oils such as extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil.
- Polyunsaturated fats: Another good fat! Polyunsaturated fats can lower LDL levels, which is critical for heart health. Examples include sunflower, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds, soymilk, tofu, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, and sardines. 20-30% of your daily caloric intake should come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats combined.
- Omega 3s: This is a form of polyunsaturated fat (good!). Omega 3s are vital to physical and emotional health, partially because your body can’t produce them on its own. They can prevent and reduce symptoms of depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder; protect against memory loss and dementia; decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer; alleviate arthritis, joint pain, and inflammatory skin conditions; and support a healthy pregnancy. Examples include fish, brussel sprouts, walnuts, kale, spinach, parsley, flaxseed, eggs, and beans.
Want to know more about the good, the bad, and the ugly truths of dieting? Book a consultation with NYHRC nutritionist, Alanna Cabrero today.