Based on what we read in the media, you’d think that the reason that people are fat, is because they eat too much fat. Yes, fatty foods – think fried, fast-food – are bad for you. But, surprisingly enough – your body does need fat! Healthy fats help us absorb certain vitamins, keeps our cell membranes happy, and makes food taste better. It’s the type of fat that matters – there is unhealthy fat, and then there is healthy fat.
Types of Fat:
There are three types of fat. Trans Fat, which is found in processed food, which is linked to higher LDL (bad) and lower HDL (good) cholesterol. There is Saturated Fat, which is found in red meat, poultry and dairy products, as well as coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and other plant based oils. This fat increases both LDL and HDL. Polyunsaturated Fats include Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, walnuts and flax seed, and Omega-6 oils, found in corn and vegetable oils. These are much healthier, as they lower LDL and increase HDL, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Finally, there is Monounsaturated Fats, like those found in avocado and olive oil. These are also good – as they also lower LDL and raise HDL.
Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats, according to a 2010 study by the Harvard School of Public Health, can cut your risk of heart disease by 19%. They decrease inflammation in your heart and blood vessels. They have also been found to decrease the risk of both diabetes as well as cancer. And, replacing bad fat with good has shown to help you pack on more muscle and cut belly fat!
So – replace those bad fats with good – your body, your heart, and your belly will thank you!