All About Fats
The below provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. Any treatment protocol should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner ... Please refer to: Medical & Legal Disclaimer.
Health practitioners advise us that no more than 25%–35% of your total daily calories come from fat, including less than 7% from saturated fat. The NCEP guidelines also recommend consuming less than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol (about the amount in one large egg yolk) per day. The labels on packaged foods and a calorie counter that includes fat grams can help you determine what percentage of the calories you eat comes from fat.
A growing body of research indicates that the types of fat you eat are at least as important as the amount you eat.
- Bad Fats:
- Saturated fats:
- Solid to semi-solid at room temperature.
- Include the fats in meat, dairy products, and eggs, as well as some vegetable oils, particularly the tropical oils (palm, palm kernel, coconut*, and cocoa butter). Most saturated fats stimulate LDL production in the body. Reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet can lower your LDL. ( *Scientific studies have reported that the fatty acids from MCTs in coconut oil are not easily converted into stored triglycerides, and that MCTs cannot be readily used by the body to make larger fat molecules - please refer to The Health Benefits of Coconuts).
- Opt for low-fat or non-fat dairy products, lean meats such as loin or round cuts, and liquid margarines instead of butter.
- Trans fats: Trans fats are synthetic fats created when food manufacturers solidify unsaturated liquid oils to create firmer margarines and shortenings, as well as to facilitate processing and increase shelf-life. They use a process called hydrogenation that essentially saturates the oils with hydrogen atoms. The resulting trans fats contribute more to developing heart disease than even saturated fats do. According to the Institute of Medicine’s expert panel, there is no safe level of consumption of trans fats. In 2003, growing data on the hazards of trans fats prompted the FDA to pass a regulation that requires food manufacturers to begin listing the trans fat content of their products by January 1, 2006.
- Trans fats raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol. Fried foods and processed foods that have a long shelf life are often loaded with them. The term "partially hydrogenated oil" on an ingredient's list indicates the food contains trans fats.
- Good Fats:
- Unsaturated fats tend to be liquid at room temperature, include both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Olive, peanut, sesame, and canola oils are rich in monounsaturated fats, while soybean, corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, and fish oils are high in polyunsaturated fats - click here to find the best and the worst fish to eat. In contrast to LDL-raising saturated fats, both monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats have some ability to lower LDL.
- Recommendations: Eating large amounts of good fats was once touted as a way to protect against heart disease, but this megafat therapy has fallen out of favor because polyunsaturated fats can undergo a step called modification, which may be the earliest trigger of plaque formation. Monounsaturated fats do not undergo modification, and they lead to lower LDL cholesterol levels when substituted for saturated fats in the diet. Replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats — for example, using olive oil instead of butter at the table — is one way to improve a wayward lipid profile, as long as you are cutting back on the saturated fats.
- For people who do not respond to dietary changes in fat intake, the guidelines recommend:
- Increase your intake of soluble dietary fiber
- Increase your consumption of plant stanols and sterols, which are found in some manufactured margarine products
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