Oh Those Fatty Foods! Love Them and Hate Them. So What's Good and What's Bad?
Hey! Before You Grab That Third Piece of Pizza, Find Out Which Fatty Foods Help and Which Hurt You.
If you are serious about losing some weight you must understand the basics of the fatty foods you are eating. Knowing the difference between good and bad fats and how they affect your weight and health is the first step toward making the healthiest food choices.
So lets cover some basics about fats. What are they?
Fats are an organic compound formed by combining a ''sugar'' (glycerol) molecule with an ''acid'' (fatty acid) molecule. These ''fatty acids'' are long chains of carbon atoms that are either ''flexible'' or ''stiff'' depending on the chemical bond that holds them together. Three fatty acids combine with one glycerol molecule to make a triclyceride. Almost all the fat in your diet and in your body is made up of triglycerides. There are two main types of triglycerides, unsaturated (considered good) and saturated (considered bad).
Fats are one of the major sources of energy for the body and are necessary for proper function of the body. Fats aid in the absorption of Vitamin A, D, E, K and carotenoids (an antioxidant). Fats provide thermal insulation and materials for the components of cell membranes of myelin sheaths, which insulate nerve fibers.
Why Are Fats Labeled either Good or Bad?
First, keep in mind that the overeating of fatty foods, whether good or bad, leads to weight gain because if you take in more calories than you burn the fat will be stored in your body. When we talk about good and bad fats we need to understand a little about those ''stiff'' or ''flexible'' qualities we talked about a little earlier. Types of fats have different physical properties that affect not only the taste and texture of food but also will affect your body.
Fatty Foods that Contain Saturated Fats and Trans Fats
Saturated fats are the ''stiff'' fats because they tend to be solid at room temperature. They have been used in foods and in food preparation because they improve the taste and texture of foods. Why do you think that warm doughnut from the shop tastes so good? It''s because of the oils it is cooked in. At one time lard was used to deep fry most foods such as fried chicken and french fries. Chemically altered fats called ''trans fatty acids'' or
have been around since 1911 but were added heavily to the American diet in the 1980''s in attempts to reduce the amount of saturated fat in fast food restaurants. Research in the 1990''s revealed that these transfats were actually just as bad as saturated fats but by that time trans fats have become so widely used that they are now in 70% of our food supply.
Saturated Fats and Trans Fats are Considered ''Bad'' Because:
They both tend to raise total blood cholesterol as well as LDL (the bad cholesterol). Higher blood levels of cholesterol are a major risk factor for heart disease Saturated fats and trans fats contribute to weight gain Saturated fats may be linked to certain types of cancer. Consumption of trans fats may also play a role in certain health problems such as diabetes.
Fatty Foods that Contain Unsaturated Fats
Unsaturated fats are the ''flexible'' fats and tend to be liquid at room temperature. They are generally considered the ''good fats'' and are the ones that have the most health benefits for your body. Good Fats: Help with absorbing nutrients Help to lubricate joints Contribute to healthy nerve transmission Stimulate skin and hair growth Regulate metabolism May reduce symptoms of joint pain and other Rheumatoid problems.
There are Two Kinds of Unsaturated Fats: Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated
Monounsaturated fats are shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL (the bad)cholesterol while increasing HDL (the good) cholesterol. They have also been found to help in weight loss by reducing body fat. Monounsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, certain nuts and peanut butter. Polyunsaturated fats can be good or bad depending on their molecular bond. Some researchers consider Omega 6 fats as bad because they are inflammatory to the body when consumed in large amounts. Consuming too much Omega 6 oils in the diet may increase the liklihood that post menopausal women will develop breast cancer and also increase the liklihood that men will develop prostate cancer. Dietary sources of Omega 6 oils include poultry, eggs, walnuts and most vegetable oils. For more details on Omega 6 oils,
Omega 3 fatty acids are also polyunsaturates but they are considered one of good oils. Some of the benefits of Omega 3 fats include: Reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke Reducing the symptoms of hypertension, depression and attention deficit disorder Reducing joint pain and other symptoms related to rheumatoid problems Can improve skin problems Can help with decreasing belly fat Omega 3 fish oil may also be good for your brain and mood and is good for the brain development of a healthy baby while still in the womb.
Fatty Foods: The Good and the Bad Fats
Here is a starter list of fatty foods containing good or bad fats.
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