Fats are an essential part of our diet and is important for good health. There are various types of fats, with some being healthier than others. To help make sure you stay healthy, it is significant to eat unsaturated fats in small amounts as part of a balanced diet.
When eaten in large amounts, all fats, including healthy ones can contribute to weight gain. These are higher in energy (kilojoules) than any other nutrient and so eating less fat overall is likely to help with weight loss.
Eating less saturated and trans fats may help lower your risk of heart disease. When buying products check the labels and choose the varieties that are lesser in saturated and trans fats and higher in poly and monounsaturated ones.
So a diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, but that also contains moderate amounts of unsaturated fats will help you stay healthy.
Eating greater amounts of saturated fat is linked with an increased risk of heart disease and high blood cholesterol levels. These fats are generally solid at room temperature and are found in:
Dairy foods – such as butter, cream, full fat milk and cheese
Many manufactured and packaged foods:
Unsaturated fats are a vital part of a healthy diet. These help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels (among other health benefits) when they replace saturated in the diet.
This type is further divided into two parts:
Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been processed and as a result, behave like saturated ones. Eating trans fats increases the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and decreases the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol in the body which is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is important to lower the amounts of trans fats you eat to help you stay healthy.
Theses are found in many packaged foods and also in butter and some margarines. Use food labels to compare foods and choose those with fewer trans ones.
It is great for health to replace saturated and trans with mono and polyunsaturated fats.
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in food, but also in our blood. Cholesterol has many important functions in the body but having high levels of the wrong type of cholesterol in the blood increases heart disease risk.
It was once thought that eating too many cholesterol-containing foods (such as eggs) was the major dietary cause of high blood cholesterol level. But we now know that eating too many foods containing higher amounts of saturated and trans fats is a bigger problem and has a much greater influence on blood cholesterol levels.
According to the WHO, to avoid unhealthy weight gain:
Health professionals recommend replacing saturated and trans with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Overall, the diet should be nutritionally adequate and contain enough calories to maintain a healthy weight.
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