Saturated, Unsaturated, Trans, Oh My! | Health Eagle

Saturated, Unsaturated, Trans, Oh My!

by Louise March 28th, 2008 | Diet
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First of all, fat is an essential part of your diet. It is recommended that about 30% of your calorie intake come from fat. Be careful when you look at that number. Do not mistake it to mean that 30% of the food you eat can be fat. One gram of fat is equal to more than double one gram of protein or carbohydrates. (If you’re wondering what percentage of the amount of food you eat can be fat, that number is around 15%.) What matters most is the type of fat. There are “good” fats and “bad” fats.

Trans fat is the worst type of fat. Most people know that, but do you know why? Trans fat is high in LDL (low-density lipoproteins) and low in HDL (high density lipoproteins). LDL carries cholesterol away from the heart and builds up in the arteries (increasing cholesterol levels). HDL, on the other hand, carries cholesterol away from your heart and to the liver, where it will eventually leave your system. Doctors believe that HDL can slow down the build up of LDL. Nearly all processed and fried foods contain trans fats. It is recommended that they make up less than 1% of your diet.

Saturated fats are slightly healthier than trans fats. Although saturated fats contain moderately high amounts of LDL, they also contain levels of HDL to counter that. This type of fat is often found in meats and dairy products. It is recommended that they make up less than 7% of your calorie intake. As a general rule, fats that are solid at room temperature are most likely trans or saturated.

The good fats are the ones that contain high amounts of HDL and also low amounts of LDL. Unsaturated fats fit this description. You can find unsaturated fats in nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetable oils. Let those make up the leftover, biggest portion of the fat in your diet.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.