What You Should Know About Fats: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Fats or fatty acids come in many varieties. Some are good, some are bad, but some are really bad. To help you make a heart-healthy diet, make sure you are familiar with and understand the various types of fat.

Healthy and Good Fats

1. Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs)

Monounsaturated fats are found mainly in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil and avocados. These fats are liquid at room temperature.

Its has also been shown to to decrease LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and maintain HDL cholesterol.

Food Sources:
Canola, peanut and olive oils, non-hydrogenated margarines, nuts, avocados and seeds

2. Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs)

Polyunsaturated fats are found in sesame, soybeans, safflower, sunflower seeds and their oils. It is also the fats found in seafood. These type of fats are soft or liquid at room temperature.

Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) have been proven to decrease risk for heart disease, through a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

Food Sources:
Soybean oils, fattier fish, omega-3 eggs, flax seed and walnuts

Safflower, sesame, sunflower, corn oils, nuts, non-hydrogenated margarines, and seeds.

Unhealthy and Bad Fats

3. Saturated Fat

Is considered to be the “Bad” fat, found in animal sources like meat and poultry, butter and whole or reduced fat milk. Some vegetable oils, like kernel, coconut and palm oil are saturated. These fats are solid at room temperature.

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Too much saturated fat in one’s diet increases heart disease risk by increasing the LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.

Food Sources:
Found in prepared foods made with hydrogenated oils, fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, lard, butter, palm oil, kernel oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter.

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Ugly Fat

4. Trans Fat

Trans fatty acids or trans fat are formed when vegetable oils are processed into shortening or margarine. It also occur naturally in some animal products, such as dairy products.

It increases heart disease risk and is considered to be harmful because not only does it increase LDL and total cholesterol, but it decreases HDL cholesterol as well.

Food Sources:
Found in foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or shortening , snack foods, fast foods and ready-to-eat foods.

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