Often weight loss programs tend to focus on the need to reduce the total amount of fat consumed every single day. However there needs to be an emphasis on ensuring that the majority of fats consumed each day are good ones as opposed to bad ones. Switching to good fats over bad fats has other potential health benefits such as a healthier heart and balanced blood pressure levels.
Our bodies need minimum levels of fat in our dietary intake to be healthy. Not consuming enough fat undermines health just the same as taking in too much, only in differing ways. Without enough fat our bodies are unable to regulate blood pressure properly, have the best hormonal balance, or give organs adequate protection. Too much fat even if mostly good fats will increase the risk of weight gain especially if exercise levels are limited as well.
Remember that our bodies turn the energy from all food types into fat if it is not used. We need fat as our main kind of energy store, yet to burn fat can involve increased amounts of exercise and working out.
So lets now examine the main differences between good fats and bad fats. Hopefully knowing these differences will assist people in picking fats and oils, which are healthier for them. The bad fats are the saturated fats, whilst unsaturated fats are the healthier ones.
The unhealthy and bad fats – saturated fats
It is the saturated fats that cause our bodies some serious harm if over consumed. Most people would assume that saturated fats are derived from animal and dairy products. Yet saturated fat can also be present in plant and vegetable based fats such as coconut oil and palm oil. Frying food in animal fats, lard, and suet will raise the intake of bad fats as well.
Full fat versions of butter, cheese, margarines, and milk can cause people to have health issues related to excessive levels of saturated fat. Red and white meat depending on how it is cut, skinned, or cooked may also be full of bad fats.
If the lower fat versions of dairy, meat, and poultry products are not available then it is better to limit total intake amounts. The harm caused by food high in saturated fats can be magnified by frying it. If possible when cooking these foods try to bake or grill it.
There is a great deal of medical evidence about the harm done by saturated fats. Such fats raise cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is known to cause heart disease, block arteries, and contribute towards heart attacks.
The good fats – unsaturated fats
When possible switch saturated fats to unsaturated fats. All types of unsaturated fats will reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol inside our bodies. That good can be increased by cooking with, or using monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are the other kind of healthy fat that form part of a healthy and well balanced diet.
There is actually one form of cholesterol that acts to lower the risk of heart disease, known as HDL. Monounsaturated fats contain HDL and when eaten in small quantities will improve the health of our hearts compared to eating the bad fats instead. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats will only be healthy if consumed in moderation.
Unsaturated fats are entirely drawn from plant and vegetable origin. Examples of plants that provide oils high in monounsaturated fats include canola, olives, peanuts, besides sunflowers. Often these good fats can be used instead of the bad ones. Doing so will improve health and lower the chances of diabetes, heart disease and also high cholesterol levels.
Further more drastic changes to eating habits and lifestyles will not have to be made. Changing butter to an olive spread, or switching fried bacon to grilled chicken is less dramatic than the changes, which would happen after a heart attack for instance.
Reduce fat intake
Even so it is still worth finding ways of reducing fat intake overall. Changing cooking methods and reducing the consumption of dairy products will help even further. We should all try to avoid having more than a fifth of our daily calorie intake in the form of fats.
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