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Different types of fats

Fats are undeniable aspect in our food. When eaten in large amounts, even a healthy fats can contribute to weight gain. Fat is higher in energy, hence, eating lesser fat is more likely to help with weight loss. There are 3 type of fats that you need to know in order to have a healthy lifestyle.

 

Saturated Fats

To give a simple saturated fat definition: it is a “bad” fat found in relatively high amounts in many meat and dairy products, including full fat milk, cheese, butter, and cream. A lot of prepared foods have a high quantity of saturated fat – ranging from baked desserts like cakes and biscuits, to pizza and pork pies. Perhaps surprisingly, it can also be found in some vegetable products: coconut oil and palm oil are also high in saturated fat.

Saturated fats is linked with the risk of heart disease and high blood cholesterol level. This kind of fats usually found in:

  • Dairy foods

    • Butter, cream, full fat milk, cheese

  • Meat and Poultry

    • Chicken skin, fatty cuts

  • Palm oil

  • Coconut milk and cream

  • Cooking margarine

  • Savoury snacks (ex. Potato chips)

  • Deep fried and junk food

  • Cakes and muffins

  • Pastries and pies

  • Sweet desserts

 

How to reduce or replace the saturated fat in your diet

  • Read food labels . When buying prepared food, it’s a good idea to check the nutritional information on the packet. Many packets will have information on Reference Intake (formerly Guideline Daily Allowance) on the front, using the traffic light system to indicate the amount of energy, total fat, saturated fat, sugars, and salt per serving (and an indication of serving size).

  • Replace foods high in “bad” fats with those containing more of the “good” unsaturated fat where possible . It helps to know what the main sources of saturated fat are and what foods make suitable replacements.

  • Swap full fat dairy options for reduced fat or unsaturated fat options. For example, consider opting for skimmed rather than full fat milk, or melting a vegetable oil based soft spread over your baked potatoes or vegetables rather than butter.

  • Cook cleverly . Poaching, boiling, baking, steaming, and grilling meat, fish, or eggs use less fat than frying. When frying is necessary, use vegetable oils or products made from them, as they are a good source of unsaturated fat. Also try trimming the fat off meat and taking the skin off chicken breasts.

 

Unsaturated Fats

On the contrary, unsaturated fats are important for a healthy diet. Unsaturated fat is found in high amounts in nuts, seeds, oily fish, and vegetable oils such as sunflower, soya and olive oil, as well as vegetable oil-based soft spreads. It is well established that replacing saturated fat in your diet (found in full fat dairy and fatty meat products, as well as many prepared foods like cakes and biscuits) with unsaturated fat can help lower LDL-cholesterol, one of the risk factors in the development of coronary heart disease

 

There are two main types of unsaturated fats:

Polyunsaturated fats:

  • Omega 3 fats - Fish

  • Omega 6 fats - Soybean oil and brazil nuts.

 

Monounsaturated fats:

  • Olive and canola oil, avocados, cashews, and almonds.

  • Snack on unsalted nuts. They make an easy snack on the go, perfect for replacing foods like pastries that are often high in saturated fat. A trail mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit is a handy way to eat a little more fibre as well as unsaturated fat. Avoid roasted nuts, however, as these often have added oils that add to their calorie content.

  • Cook with vegetable oils such as sunflower or olive oil. Vegetable oils are an easy way to up your unsaturated fat intake as you prepare food, making them good alternatives to cooking with butter or coconut oil that are high in saturated fat.

  • Replace saturated fat with unsaturated or reduced fat options. Dairy foods like milk, cheese, butter, and cream are often high in saturated fat, but can easily be swapped for reduced fat alternatives or alternatives with a better balance of saturated and unsaturated fat.

  • Use seeds as toppings. Sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds are all readily available in most supermarkets, and are great sprinkled on top of salads, desserts, and cooked vegetables.

  • Eat oily fish once a week. Oily fish is both flavoursome and contains plenty of unsaturated fat. Try eating fish twice a week, basing one of those meals on oily fish –a number of studies have indicated that fish Omega-3 can contribute towards the normal functioning of the heart.

 

Trans Fats

Trans fat is considered by many doctors to be the worst type of fat you can eat. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — both raises your LDL ("bad") cholesterol and lowers your HDL ("good") cholesterol.

A diet laden with trans fat increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women.

Some meat and dairy products contain small amounts of naturally occurring trans fat. But most trans fat is formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature.

This partially hydrogenated oil is less likely to spoil, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life. Some restaurants use partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in their deep fryers, because it doesn't have to be changed as often as do other oils.

 

The manufactured form of trans fat, known as partially hydrogenated oil, is found in a variety of food products, including:

  • Baked goods. Most cakes, cookies, pie crusts and crackers contain shortening, which is usually made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Ready-made frosting is another source of trans fat.

  • Snacks. Potato, corn and tortilla chips often contain trans fat. And while popcorn can be a healthy snack, many types of packaged or microwave popcorn use trans fat to help cook or flavor the popcorn.

  • Fried food. Foods that require deep frying — french fries, doughnuts and fried chicken — can contain trans fat from the oil used in the cooking process.

  • Refrigerator dough. Products such as canned biscuits and cinnamon rolls often contain trans fat, as do frozen pizza crusts.

  • Creamer and margarine. Nondairy coffee creamer and stick margarines also may contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
     

So now you can plan to have a diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, but have enough amount of unsaturated fats to keep you stay healthy!