Let’s Talk About Fat

We’ve come a long way from the low-fat craze of the 1990s. Back then, we were all counting fat grams throughout the day, blissfully ignoring calories as we guzzled sugar greedily. “It’s fat free!” the snack industry assured us, pushing out more chips and cookies. “You can eat as much as you want!” they cried, as the obesity epidemic continued unabated. And so we counted calories and we ate and our collective waistlines grew ever larger.

Thankfully that period of time is now over. Nowadays we know that not all fats are created equal; in fact, not only are some fats good for our bodies, they can actually help us maintain a healthy weight. Here’s a quick overview on the four types of fat that come from food; including the ones that we need and the ones we should all try to eliminate from our diets.

Saturated Fats

Grating cheese.

Saturated fats are often referred to as “solid fats.” That’s because the congealed fats you find at the top of a meat stew are saturated fats. Diets high in this type of fat have been linked to coronary heart disease. For that reason, nutritionists recommend that we eat less than 10 percent of our daily calories as saturated fats. Some examples of this type of fat include:

  • High fat cheeses
  • High fat meats
  • Whole milk and cream
  • Butter
  • Palm or coconut oils
  • Ice cream

Monounsaturated Fats

Found in a variety of foods and oils, studies have shown that eating a diet rich in monounsaturated fats can actually improve blood cholesterol levels while decreasing the risk of heart disease. As if that’s not enough, monounsaturated fats can also help regulate insulin levels and blood sugar, to help fight off Type 2 diabetes. Good sources of monounsaturated fats include:

  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Fish like mackerel, herring and halibut

Polyunsaturated Fats

Sunflower seeds.

While they’re not as good for you as monounsaturated fats, these are still better for your health than saturated fats. They’ve been shown to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) levels while increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels. One of the most important types of polyunsaturated fatty acids is omega-3 acids. These are fatty acids our bodies need but are unable to produce. Good sources of polyunsaturated fat are:

  • Cereals
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Finfish and shellfish

Trans Fats

Trans fats are the only manmade source of fats. They’re made through a process of hydrogenation, where hydrogen atoms are added to polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Trans fats raise your LDL cholesterol levels while simultaneously lowering HDL cholesterol levels. When it comes to fat, this is the one to avoid. Luckily, trans fats aren’t as much of a concern as they once were. Food manufacturers used to use them much more often than they do nowadays. Here are some common sources of trans fats that you should consider cutting out of your diet:

  • Margarine
  • Fast food
  • Prepackaged foods
  • Soup cups
  • Chips, crackers and candy

Basically, any type of food that’s prepared ahead of time may be harboring trans fats. Check the label before consuming and try to avoid this type of fat that’s been connected to heart disease.

If you’d like to learn more about healthy fats and their role in a nutritious diet, talk to your chiropractic team. They’ll be able to work with you on a meal plan that’s nutritious and healthy.

 

Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

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Photo credit: Used under Creative Commons LicensingUsed under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of David Swart

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.