According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should get 20% to 35% of their calories from fat. Because fats have gotten such a bad rap many of us miss out on the healthy benefits of fat. Let’s take a look at the various types of fats and their effect on our body.
Polyunsaturated Fats: These are healthy unsaturated fats. They can help lower your total body cholesterol level. This category lists Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are known as essential fatty acids because our bodies don’t make them, so we have to get them from our food. These are found in, nuts, seeds, corn oil, fatty fish, and safflower oil.
Monounsaturated Fats: These fats are also the healthy unsaturated fats that raise HDL (good cholesterol) These are found in nuts&seeds, avocados, olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: In the world of good unsaturated fats Omega-3’s are superstars. They fight inflammation, help control blood clotting, lower blood pressure and triglycerides. The American Heart Association suggest eating at least two 3-5 ounce servings of Omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish each week.
Saturated Fats: Saturated Fats increases total cholesterol and LDL and may boost your type 2 diabetes risk. It is recommended that no more than 10% of total calories come from saturated fat. These are found mostly in red meat, dairy products, palm and coconut oil.
Trans Fats: Trans Fats increase total cholesterol and LDL and lower HDL. They are found mainly in processed and fried foods. Check food labels for hydrogenated, and partially hydrogenated. These are the types of fats you will want to avoid.
So all fats are not created equal. Hopefully now you know which fats to include in your diet and which ones to avoid.