Not all fat is equal. There are some fats that are essential to healthy living, and some that are harmful. Telling the difference is often difficult. This article will help distinguish between good and bad fats.
Fat itself is a nutrient. It is vital to your body’s functions. Fat helps your body absorb many needed nutrients and also supplies your body with energy stores. Too much fat is harmful to your body. When you consume too much fat, your body can become overweight or obese. Eating too much fat also puts you at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.
Too little fat, however, is also harmful to your body. If you do not consume enough fat, you are just as much at risk of being unhealthy and having health problems as you are if you eat too much. Heart problems, having little to no energy, and severe vitamin deficiencies can all be risk factors of not consuming enough fat.
There are many types of fat in the foods we eat; some are good and some are bad. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated.
Fatty acids are basically the building blocks that make up the different types of fats. Both saturated and unsaturated fats are made up of fatty acids. The difference between the two and the way they act differently in your body comes down to a molecular difference. The way the fatty acids are combined into different shapes decides whether the fat is unsaturated or saturated.
Saturated fatty acids are considered to be “bad” fats. These are the types of fats that are found in chips, greasy meats, and dairy products. Saturated fats are typically animal-derived fats such as butter and lard. Saturated fats are most commonly linked with high cholesterol and heart disease.
Unsaturated fatty acids are considered to be “good” fats. These fats are most commonly derived from plants such as vegetables and nuts. Olive oils, avocados and peanut oils all contain unsaturated fats. These types of fats can lower cholesterol and contribute to a healthier diet.
Unsaturated fats are more complex than saturated fats, and come in many forms.
Monounsaturated fats, for example, are the most preferable type of fats. These are the fats that are most typically responsible for lowering bad cholesterol and also maintaining good cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats are found in avocados, olives and olive oil, canola oils, and nuts.
Polyunsaturated fats are also mostly good for you. They have been linked to lowering bad cholesterol, but can also lower the good cholesterol in your body when too much is consumed. Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn, sesame, and soybean oils.
Fats are important to a healthy diet and lifestyle. While you do want to stay away from unhealthy saturated fats, you should not cut all fats out of your diet. The types of fats that you consume are extremely important. Consuming a fair amount of monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil and avocados, can be an important addition to your healthy lifestyle.