What are the major types of fat
The four main types of fat are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, saturated, and trans fats.
Why Fats Are Important
While too much fat of any type can lead to weight gain, fat is a necessary part of the diet. It helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, and E and makes you feel more satiated after you eat, which in turn means you’ll eat less.
Importance of unsaturated fats
What are polyunsaturated fats? Polyunsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol. They are divided into two types: omega-6 and omega-3 fats, both of which play a crucial role in brain function. Omega-6 fats are found in safflower, sunflower and corn oils, as well as nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fats are in fish, canola oil, omega-3 eggs, walnuts, pecans, and pine nuts.
It is important to increase our intake of omega-3 fats and reduce our intake of omega-6 fats. For most of human history, our ratio of intake of omega-6 to omega-3 fats was about 2 to 1; now it is at least 10 to 1, and consuming this much omega-6 fat can lead to cardiovascular problems. To get the ratio back in line, consume more fish, nuts and seeds and consume fewer foods cooked in vegetable oil.
Is monounsaturated fat healthy? Monounsaturated fats are very healthy, having gained popularity with the rise of the Mediterranean diet. People who follow this diet eat a relatively large amount of monounsaturated fat, yet are not overweight and rarely have heart disease. The foods that are high in monounsaturated fats are olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. This type of fat can help lower your cholesterol and many of the sources of monounsaturated fat are also sources of vitamin E, which many Canadians need more of.
Saturated Fats and Trans Fats
Why is it important to limit trans fats and saturated fats?
Saturated fats are mainly found in animal foods such as beef, lamb, pork, dairy products, and poultry with the skin on. Saturated fat should be limited in the diet since it can raise your cholesterol level.
Trans fats are very bad for your health and should be avoided entirely. They are found in fried foods, baked goods, and any product with partially hydrogenated oil. They are a by-product of the hydrogenation process, and are worse for you than trans fats because they not only raise your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad” cholesterol, but also lower your HDL (high-density lipoproteins) or “good” cholesterol.
How many grams of fat do you need a day?
Most people should get between 20 and 30 per cent of their calories from fat. So someone eating 1,800 calories per day would need about 70 grams of fat. Most of this should be polyunsaturated or monounsaturated.
Understanding the differences between the types of fat can help you consume the healthy fats in your diet and the ones that will improve your health (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) and avoid the harmful fats (saturated and trans fats). Dietary fats have many health benefits, so if you want to get more healthy fats in your diet, enjoy that salad with an extra-virgin olive oil vinaigrette and you’ll please your taste buds and your heart.