For years, we’ve been told that to lose weight, you should have a low calorie, low fat diet. Low-fat foods have been proclaimed to help prevent problems from heart disease to cancer. The truth is: little research can be cited to support these facts. The key isn’t to eat less fats, it’s to eat good fats. But how do we know which fats are bad and which are good? Here’s the skinny on the different types of fats.
Monounsaturated Fats. These are the best fats for you. Replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats has been shown to lower bad cholesterol without lowering good cholesterol. You can find these helpful fats in most nuts, canola, olive, and sesame oil, and in avocados.
Polyunstaurated Fats. These fats are still unsaturated, but not as good for you as monounsaturated fats. While they have been shown to lower bad cholesterol, they also tend to lower good cholesterol at the same time. These fats can be found in mayonnaise, walnuts, corn and soybean oil, and in salad dressings.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids. These are a special type of polyunsaturated fat found in high fat fish and other nuts. They not only have anti-inflammatory effects; they have also been shown to lower triglyceride levels and help prevent you from dying of a heart attack.
Trans Fats. These fats, also known as hydrogenated fats, are man made fats. These were created to prolong shelf life of some foods. When looking for foods low in trans fat, be sure to check the ingredients list, not just proclamations on the box. When something says it has “no trans fat” that actually means it has less that .4 grams.
Saturated Fats. Even though they are natural fats, saturated fats have been linked to higher levels of bad cholesterol and certain types of cancer. Foods that contain saturated fat include: high fat meat and poultry, milk products, cheese and some oils. Check labels; companies are required to tell you how much saturated fat is in a product.
Fats aren’t all bad; they make food taste better, have a better texture, and can help us absorb certain vitamins. So when you’re trying to cut fat out of your diet, be sure to be selective. Choosing the right fats will not only help you lose weight, it can prevent certain diseases and cancers.