Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sat and Trans Fat: How do they Compare?

Over the last several years there has been a great deal of attention paid to trans fats with consumers avoiding them like the plaque and food companies searching for options but the question is do you know how trans fats compare to sat fats? Possibly even more important than that question is the question, do you know how much fat is needed to be healthy? Yes it is true some fat is needed for health but the important issue is choosing the right fat so to make it simple let’s start at the beginning.

Fat is important to overall health since it serves as the means of moving fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K throughout the body. Fat is also needed for brain and nervous system health. Two fatty acids cannot be made by the body so they must be supplied by the diet making a minimum intake of at least ten percent of your daily calories an important part of your diet. Linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid are both found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. In addition, omega 3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and fish oils can also help provide the fats we need.

After consuming at least the minimum amount of fat it is important to choose healthier fats. Saturated fats are predominately found in animal foods and they will increase blood cholesterol. Trans fats are found naturally in animal foods but are mainly consumed when choosing partially hydrogenated fats. Trans fats increase blood cholesterol and can lower the good cholesterol but the bottom-line is that saturated and Trans fats should both be kept to a minimum intake.

When it comes to fats focus on the following –
· Choose more oils, soft margarine, nuts, seeds and fatty fish
· Use fat free dairy foods to get your 3 A Day of Dairy
· Focus on lean meat and poultry
· Keep meat and poultry portions moderate

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