Just like everything else, fat comes in many forms. Some are good, some aren't so good. The question is: which fats do you stay away from, and which fats are ok in moderation?
Saturated fats are definitely a no go. According to the Mayo Clinic, saturated fat raises total cholesterol levels as well as bad cholesterol levels. In addition, it could also raise your chances of contracting type 2 diabetes. Saturated fat can be found in such sources as animal sources of food, think chicken and beef. Which is the reason you should stick to lean cuts of meat. Trans fat is another fat to steer clear of. The Mayo Clinic states “... most trans fats are made during food processing through partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fats. This process creates fats that are easier to cook with and less likely to spoil than are naturally occurring oils. These trans fats are called industrial or synthetic trans fats.” Trans fat can increase risks for cardiovascular disease due to the fact that they raise levels of bad cholesterol while at the same time lowering your good cholesterol. Foods with high saturated or trans fat content are easy to spot because they are solid at room temperature. Beef fat, pork fat, stick margarine, shortening, and butter are all examples of this and should be avoided at all costs.
Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs)on the other hand are good to have in moderation. They build up your good cholesterol levels in the blood to lower your risk for heart disease. Further, they have the ability to boost insulin levels and blood sugar control, making them excellent choices for people with type 2 diabetes. Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are also good tools for improving blood cholesterol levels and helping prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Polyunsaturated fats also encompass a specific type of fat which is extremely beneficial to your heart. Omega-3 fatty acids are able to decrease the risk for coronary artery disease. The Mayo Clinic also says “They may also protect against irregular heartbeats and help lower blood pressure levels.” MUFA's and PUFAs are liquid at room temperature. They include foods such as olive oil, corn oil, safflower oil and peanut oil. Think plant-based foods when looking for rich sources of these beneficial fats.
For more information, please contact the Wayne County YMCA at (570) 253-2083 or online at ymcawayne.com.