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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good Fats/Bad Fats

Good fats are ones like olive oil that are good for your heart. Bad fats are saturated fats because they raise your blood cholesterol.

What are saturated fats and why should you cut back on them?

Saturated fats are fats most of us consume every day. They are called saturated fats because their structures are saturated with hydrogen.

When we think about heart disease we think about how much cholesterol is in our blood. Having an elevated blood level of cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Why? Because too much cholesterol can lead to accumulations in the arteries which eventually restricts blood flow in our arteries. This restriction can also raise your blood pressure.

What causes elevated blood cholesterol?

One of the major culprits is saturated fats. The more saturated fat you eat the higher your bad or LDL cholesterol becomes. Most of us know that we should watch how much cholesterol we take in each day. But dietary cholesterol actually has less an effect on our blood cholesterol than the amount of saturated and trans fats we eat.

So how can we lower our intake of saturated fats? What foods contain saturated fats?

Making some simple dietary changes can reduce the amount of saturated fat you take in each day. Most of the saturated fats in our diets comes from animal foods and milk products. But there are some vegetable fats, namely coconut oil and palm oil that are also saturated.




Milk and Milk Products

Switch from whole milk to 1% or fat-free milk.

Choose low-fat yogurt

Choose low-fat cheeses such as

Part-skim mozzarella cheese


Whole milk

Cheese made with whole milk

Ice cream


Chicken without skin, fish (not fried), lean cuts of pork or meat, lean ground beef, lean ground turkey

Fried chicken



Deli meats


Use soft margarine. Limit use butter and stick margarine


Stick margarine



Canola oil

Peanut oil

Safflower oil

Palm oil, palm kernel oil


Coconut oil


What is the best oil to choose for a healthy heart? Choosing the right oil can help one lower their blood cholesterol. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that more recently been seen as one of the better and healthier fats to choose. Virgin olive oil contains phytochemicals which have been shown to protect against heart disease. Thus, if you are looking for heart healthy oil, choose olive oil.

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