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Choosing the right fats

Choosing the right fats

Choosing the right kind of fats is really important when it comes to a heart healthy diet. Contrary to past dietary advice advocating a low fat diet, research now clearly shows that adding beneficial fats to one’s diet is very important to maintain cardiac health.

Many a times food manufacturers replace fats with refined carbohydrates and sugars. Our bodies digest these carbs and sugars very quickly and cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels leading to weight gain and various diseases.

Choosing the good fats is important rather than eliminating all kinds of fats blindly.
Fats are of 3 types –

1) Unsaturated fats – also known as good fats, these fats are mono and polyunsaturated fats. They reduce the risk of heart disease by increasing a persons HDL cholesterol and reducing their LDL levels. They also may help improve blood sugar levels. Examples of such fats are olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia, avocado, pecans, fish etc.

2) Trans fats- also called as bad fats increase the risk of heart disease in people by raising the LDL and total cholesterol level in people. If consumed, they should be in very small amounts. Primarily processed foods contain trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils.

1) Saturated fats- While not as harmful as trans fats, saturated fats are not really good for Cardiac health and should be consumed in absolute moderation. Examples of such foods are- Butter, Cheese, cream,coconut oil, palm oil certain red meats etc.

We can make the right choices by

1) Cooking with oils such as olive oil, canola oil or other oils rich in MUFAs and PUFAs (Unsaturated fats).
2) Avoiding transfats by avoiding processed foods . Read labels to check whether the foods contain partially hydrogenated oils, avoiding fried foods etc.
3) Eating at least one good source of Omega 3 fats everyday such as walnuts, canola oil, fish oil etc. Omega 3 is one fat our body cannot make and it must be consumed through ones diet.
4) Cut back on certain dairy products like cream, cheese, butter etc and on red meats.
5) Reducing portion sizes helps tremendously.
6) Choose low fat dairy products such as skimmed milk etc.