Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fats and Cholesterol

Posted by Picasa David cut this picture out of his New Yorker magazine for me and said I needed to use it in my blog, I bet he was even munching on a piece of bacon as he did it too.

We all hear about "fats". Avoid fats so you don't get fat, but eat "good fats' to be healthy...well what is the deal and what is a good fat, what is a bad fat and what is the difference?

I hear people tell me all the time that they cannot eat certain foods (such as shrimp or eggs) because they are high in cholesterol, but does dietary cholesterol raise your own cholesterol?

I have compiled this from a few different sources, but I think it sums it all up in a fairly easy to understand manner.

Value of Fat
Fats are required by the body for creating hormones, for the feeling of fullness after eating and for long-lasting energy. Unsaturated fats, which are found in foods like olive oil, fish, seeds and nuts, can lower the risk of heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Saturated Fat
Saturated fat is the unhealthy type of fat which is found in foods that come from animals--milk, cheese and butter, beef and pork, for example.

Vegetarians and vegans consume no saturated fat in their diet, since plants do not contain saturated fats. The Mayo Clinic states that saturated fat can clog the arteries and increase the risk of heart attack. Many low carb diets, such as Atkins, have suggested in the past that dieters consume saturated fats, but most now insist that dieters consume more "good fats."

Saturated fats increase bad cholesterol (LDL), which can cause heart disease and certain types of cancer. It is important in order to keep your heart healthy to limit your intake of saturated fats.

Hydrogenated Fats (trans-fats).
Hydrogenated fats are man-made, but they take on many of the traits of saturated fats. They are specifically re-engineered to stay hard at room temperature.

You can find hydrogenated fats in sweets and cookies, which you should not be eating on your diet; however, you can also find it in any margarine products, so it is important to check the ingredient labels on food products before you purchase them.

Cholesterol is a waxy compound that is naturally made by the human body to help build and protect cell membranes. Cholesterol acts as a precursor for hormones like estrogen and testosterone. Since cholesterol is made by the body, humans don't need to eat foods with cholesterol. Yet foods like eggs, cheese, butter and meats all contain cholesterol.

Serum Cholesterol
There are two different types of cholesterol levels in the blood. HDL cholesterol, which stands for high density lipoprotein, is a healthy type of cholesterol which transports unhealthy cholesterol away from the heart. The American Heart Association states that LDL cholesterol, or low density lipoprotein, causes fatty deposits on the arteries and can lead to heart attacks. Many people try to limit their serum cholesterol, or cholesterol in the blood. While it is often thought eating foods with cholesterol raises cholesterol in the blood, the Mayo Clinic states that foods with saturated fat raise cholesterol the most.

Saturated Fat and Cholesterol
The Mayo Clinic states that while cholesterol is not a form of fat, it is a compound found in foods high in saturated fat. So dietary fat and dietary cholesterol are found in many of the same foods, and foods with fats can raise cholesterol in the blood.

Monounsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats are natural fats that lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and prevent "good" cholesterol (HDL) from getting lower. You will encounter a lot of monounsaturated fats in the form of canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, and nuts.

Not only are these sources carb-free or low carb, but most of them are also high in protein, promote good heart health, and may reduce the risk of some cancers.

Polyunsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats are also natural fats. They come in two major groupings: Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. You can find Omega-3 in most types of fatty fish, such as salmon and trout; Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in most seed oils.

Omega fatty acids help to reduce bad cholesterol, promote brain health, and reduce incidence of sudden death from heart attacks.
To sum this all up, eat fish, seeds, nuts, canola oil, peanut butter, olive oil.

Just remember that because they are fats, they are higher in calories, so you have to limit them to keep your daily caloric intake at the correct level. So when eating a fatty fish, you may eat a smaller portion, use some oil but use canola or olive. Eat some avocado in your salad, have a spoon of peanut butter.

Eat the good fats. They taste good and are good for you!
Enhanced by Zemanta