Ask the Dietitian
Which fats are considered "good" fats, and which ones are "bad"? Also, will eating "good" fats instead of "bad" ones help me lose weight?
Fats are essential to our health, and are important for energy and cellular functions. They are also needed to help your body absorb certain nutrients and produce important hormones. So it is important to have fats in your diet, with an emphasis on the "better" fats in place of the so-called "bad" fats.
"Bad Fats" are ones that are known to raise bad cholesterol levels in the blood, and also increase risk of developing heart disease.
• Saturated fats are found in fatty cuts of meat, lard, cream, butter, cheese, palm oil and coconut oil. These types of fats tend to be solid at room temperature.
• Trans fats are found in a lot of processed foods, such as some commercially baked good, fried goods, snack foods, and traditional stick margarine and vegetable shortening.
"Better Fats" are ones that may help lower the risk of heart disease and help in reducing bad blood cholesterol levels.
• Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn oil, safflower oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, salmon, tuna, trout and other fish.
• Monounsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils like olive oil and canola oil, avocados, olives, almonds, peanuts and peanut butter.
The one thing to keep in mind is that both types of fats, the "bad" and "better", are equally high in calories. Regardless of the type of fats you eat in your diet, if you eat more calories than you need, you will gain weight. Focus on replacing the "bad" fats with the "better" ones to reduce your risk of heart disease. And if you want to lose weight as well, focus on lowering your overall daily intake
of calories (see the January thrive! newsletter for more help with weight loss).