Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Skinny On Fats

Moderation is key when it comes to how much fat to eat, but some fats are better for your health than others.
Randy Mayor
By Maureen Callahan
The Good Fats
Monounsaturated fat: The fat of choice for heart health helps lower total cholesterol levels and LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, and raises HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Foods that are rich in monos include avocados, most nuts and nut oils, olive oil, and canola oil.
Polyunsaturated fat: It lowers total cholesterol. Vegetable oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oil are rich in polyunsaturated fats. Fatty fish, such as salmon, are a rich source of a heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids.
The Bad Fats
Saturated fat: It raises blood cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease. A good rule of thumb is to limit saturated fat to less than one-third of your daily fat intake. Foods rich in saturates include butter, full-fat dairy products, red meats, and two vegetable products -- palm kernel oil and coconut.
Trans fat: Preliminary studies suggest these fats, which are formed when liquid oils are made into solid (hydrogenated) shortenings, may raise the levels of LDL, lower levels of HDL, and increase the risk of heart disease. Sources include hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and shortenings, found in snack crackers, cookies, and other packaged foods.

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