To get a better understanding of this blog post we suggest that you checkout Part 1, if you haven’t already.
"Bad” fats, such as artificial trans fats and saturated fats, are guilty of the unhealthy things all fats have been blamed for; weight gain, clogged arteries, an increased risk of certain diseases and so forth. But “good” fats such as unsaturated fats and omega-3s have the opposite effect.
Trans fat. Small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats can be found in meat and dairy products but it’s artificial trans fats that are considered dangerous. This is the worst type of fat since it not only raises bad LDL cholesterol but also lowers good HDL levels. Artificial trans fats can also create inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, and other chronic conditions and contributes to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. No amount of artificial trans fat is considered safe, so aim to eliminate it from your alimentation.
Primary sources include:
Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough.
Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, crisps).
Stick margarine, vegetable shortening.
Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish).
Anything containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, even if it claims to be “trans fat-free”
Saturated fat. While not as harmful as trans fat, saturated fat can raise bad LDL cholesterol and too much can negatively impact heart health, so it’s best consumed in moderation. Limiting your intake of saturated fat can still help improve your health as long as you take care to replace it with good fat. In other words, don’t go no fat, go good fat.
Primary sources include:
Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
Whole-fat dairy products (milk, cream, cheese)
Tips to avoid unhealthy fats:
Use naturally occurring, unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as olive, canola and sunflower oil whenever possible.
Less processed oils, such as cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, contain potentially beneficial phytochemicals.
When using olive oil, opt for “extra virgin,” which may have additional heart benefits over regular olive oil.
Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Check food labels for trans fats. Limiting commercially-baked goods and fast food can go a long way. The best way to avoid bad fat is to know what to look for on food labels, and check the ingredients of everything you buy.
Season your food with herbs and spices. Instead of using butter, cream, and cheese to flavour foods, experiment with different herbs and spices.
Buy lean cuts of meat. Meat is graded by its fat content, with “prime” cuts being the highest in fat. Loin and round cuts are good lower-fat selections. Cut visible fat off of meats before cooking, and drain the grease afterwards.
Choose fish over red meat. Red meats like beef, pork, lamb, and veal contain the highest amounts of saturated fats of any meats. Skinless poultry and seafood are much lower-fat options if you opt to eat meat. Choose surf over turf whenever possible.
Take the skin off your poultry. Chicken and turkey meat are pretty low-fat options, but the skin of poultry has lots of saturated fat in it.
Request healthy substitutions when eating out. Restaurants tend to cook with butter and fat, because it makes food taste good. Request your dish to be prepared without butter or margarine, and request sauces and gravies on the side so you can choose your portion. Get salad dressing on the side or ask for oil and vinegar, or a balsamic. If you’re ordering dessert, have fresh fruit or sorbet instead of butter-heavy pastries or ice cream.
Many decisions we make come with long term consequences, choose wisely.
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