Healthy Eating


Fats: They're Not All Bad


Fats, like carbohydrates, have acquired a bad rep. And it's true that most Americans do eat way too much ‘bad’ fat. But fat doesn't have to make you fat. In fact, some fats are essential to a healthy diet. Fats help the body create healthy cell membranes, improve digestion, and absorb important fat-soluble vitamins.

French Fries Photo
French Fries Are High in Trans Fat

The ‘Good’ Fat: Unsaturated Fat

Unsaturated fat lowers bad cholesterol in the body and raises the good kind (good cholesterol helps in the formation of cell membranes). These fats are found in seafood, peanut, olive, canola, corn, soybean, safflower oils, nuts and olives.

The Bad Fat: Saturated Fat

Saturated fats raise both the bad cholesterol in the body and the good. Saturated fats are found in whole milk and other dairy, such as butter, cheese and ice cream, red meat, chocolate and coconut.

The Atkins Diet

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the Atkins Diet recommendations--which say it is fine to eat a lot of bacon, steak, and butter--run counter to the advice of the medical community. Why? Because this diet is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, both of which have been linked to serious health problems.

The 'Really Bad’ Fat: Trans Fats

Trans fats are beyond bad. They are far worse than saturated fats when it comes to raising bad cholesterol, and they also lower the good. You'll find trans fats in some (but not all) highly processed baked goods and snack foods, margarine, and many fast-food type fried foods, such as french fries and onion rings. An occasional item with trans fat won't kill you, but every effort should be made to eliminate trans fats from the diet. This, fortunately, will start to be easier as many food companies are catching on to consumers' desires for foods without trans fats and producing low- or no-trans fat versions of familiar products.

The Type of Fat You Eat is Most Important

The American Heart Association has recommended that fat intake should be kept below 30 percent of total daily calories. But more and more research shows it's not so much the amount, it's the kind that matters in determining how healthy a diet is. The Harvard University School of Public Health goes so far as to suggest that it isn't the amount of fat at all that makes a healthy diet. It's only the kind. In other words, buy a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, make ice cream an occasional treat and ditch the cheese puffs.

Summary of the Types of Fats:

Nutritive Value of Foods, USDA
Quetion Unsaturated Fat Saturated Fat Trans Fat
Should I eat it? Yes - It's good In moderation No - It's bad
What food is it in? Seafood, Nuts
Certain oils: olives, corn, peanut, canola
Red Meat
Ice Cream
French Fries
Many Fried Foods
Processed Baked Goods

Now let's take a look at protein...

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