Is Fat Healthy?


Let's be truthful, understanding fats is confusing and sometimes you hear things that are conflicting. So let’s do this, let's talk fats!


Listen Linda, eating fats does not make you fat. Please re-read that, eating fats does not, and will not, make you fat. This is a common misconception! Fats are an essential part of our diet; in fact, we need 20-35 % of fat in our daily food intake.


First off, you better fact check those fats, because FATS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL!


Sorry, I didn't mean to ALL CAPS that, but they are not.


Here are the FACTS on the 4 different types of FATS. This will help you know which fat to consume that is truly heart healthy. Let’s break this down into two categories.


Category 1 - Naturally occurring fats are fats that are heart healthy, or naturally come in the food product. They are often a good source of vitamin E and will help lower LDL and raise HDL.


Unsaturated

  • Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs)

  • Where is it found : This type of fat is found in a variety of foods (plants & whole grains) and oils.

  • The science behind MUFAs : Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids instead of saturated fats improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease and may also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Examples :

  • Olive oil (great for baking)


  • Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs)

  • Where is it found : This type of fat is found mostly in plant-based foods and oils

  • The science behind PUFAs : Evidence shows that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids instead of saturated fats improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease and may also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Examples :

  • Vegetable oil (great for frying)

  • Canola oil


TIP: Foods made up mostly of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, like canola oil, corn oil, olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and vegetable oil.



Category 2 - Added fats are the fats that are put into the food product (it does not naturally occur and is not a heart healthy fat)

Saturated (SFAs) (consume only 20 grams or less a day)

  • Where is it found : This type of fat comes mostly from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products.

  • The science behind : Saturated fats raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol levels, which may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Examples :

  • Butter

  • Avocado oil

  • Coconut oil


Trans Fat (TFAs) (limit your intake)

  • Where is it found : chemically made fat to make food shelf stable

  • The science behind : This type of fat occurs naturally in some foods in small amounts. But most trans fats are made from oils through a food processing method called partial hydrogenation. These partially hydrogenated trans fats can increase total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but lower HDL cholesterol. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

PLEASE NOTE : Any product can legally label “0 g trans fats” on their food if it has less than a ½ of a gram.

Examples :

  • Processed Foods (pork rinds, tv dinners, etc.)