All you need to know about Fats

Not all fats are created equally.

There are two types of fats in our diet, cis and trans. Cis fats are considered the ‘good’ fat, while trans fats are to be avoided. But why? This blog will look at why trans fats should be avoided as often as possible.

 

What Is are Trans Fats?

Trans fats (also called trans unsaturated fatty acids or trans fatty acids) are found in nature as well as produced synthetically.

Natural trans fats are produced in the gut of some grazing animals (like cattle and sheep), which is why small quantities of trans fat can be found in animal products like meat, milk and milk products.

In fact, trans fat is considered to be the worst type of fat you can eat.

Trans fats increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. They have even been associated with aggressive behavior, impatience, and irritability.

Specifically, trans fats are linked to Cardiovascular Disease. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats simultaneously raise your LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and lower your HDL (‘good’) cholesterol. Because of this, they are a serious threat to our cardiovascular health, increasing the risk of clogged arteries and death from strokes and heart attacks.

Inflammation, cancer and obesity are also associated with too many trans fats in the diet.

 

How to Avoid Trans Fats

Here are three easy ways to avoid trans fat consumption.

  1. Avoid commercially prepared baked goods, snack and boxed foods as well as fast foods.
  2. Read labels carefully for trans fat content.
  3. Be careful in restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops.

Bottom line?

There is no level of trans fat that is safe.

 

Trans Fats and Cholesterol

A waxy, fat-like substance, cholesterol is an essential component of all animal cell membranes.

Your body needs cholesterol to maintain both the integrity and fluidity of the cell membranes’ structure.

Importantly, your body is capable of manufacturing all the cholesterol it needs.

 

What Is ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Cholesterol?

Why do people talk about ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ cholesterol?

Elevated levels of plasma lipoproteins other than HDL (called non-HDL cholesterol) are associated with an increase of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

This is particularly true of LDL cholesterol, which is nicknamed the ‘bad’ cholesterol because it is directly linked to the onset and progression of atherosclerosis.

HDL, on the other hand, has earned the name ‘good’ cholesterol because it carries cholesterol back to the liver, which then removes the cholesterol altogether from your body.

 

How Does High Blood Cholesterol Harm Your Health?

High serum LDL cholesterol promotes atherosclerosis, a condition where plaque builds up in your arteries.

Over time that plaque hardens and narrows your arteries, thus limiting the flow of blood to the heart. Eventually, plaque may rupture and cause blood clots.

If a clot blocks an artery that feeds the brain, you have a stroke.

If the clot blocks an artery that leads to the heart, it causes a heart attack. 

Despite the negative hype, the potato is actually a low-calorie whole food brimming with healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Potatoes

What starts out as a nutrient-dense source of fiber, most frequently emerges from the kitchen as a calorie-dense fatty mess due to commonly used potato preparation.

For example:

Baked potatoes almost always emerge from the kitchen heaped with a variety of fatty toppings. That same healthy and simple russet potato “fully loaded” with classic toppings (butter, sour cream).

Mashed potatoes are typically stripped of their skins, boiled soft and then mixed with milk and butter.

French Fries – also stripped of their skins – are typically pan-fried or completely submerged in hot oil.

Potato Salad, a picnic food that most people consider a healthier option than fries, is one of the fattiest potato dishes you can eat.

 

Author: Basil (volunteer)

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