In the food and fitness world, fats get a bad rap. But what many people don't know is how good fats are for the body, mind, and overall health.

How Different Fats Affect You

Unsaturated Fats are a category of fat that may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. This type of fat may also help increase HDL (good) cholesterol, especially those found in fatty fish.  Unsaturated Fats lower inflammation, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Saturated Fats consumed in large quantities may increase LDL (bad) cholesterol. Trans Fats, those found in processed meats, baked goods, and fast foods, have been shown to raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol.

Where Are These Fats Found?

Unsaturated Fats

These fats get a thumbs up! Add more of these good fats into your diet. They are found in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.

Omega 3s

These are another type of unsaturated fats and offer great health benefits.  Add more into your meals by eating more fatty cold-water fish like salmon mackerel, herring, sardines, and tuna.  These types of fats are also found in flax seed, flax oil, walnuts, and chia seeds, but plant-based sources don't have as great of an impact on health as those from fish.

Saturated Fats

Since these may increase the bad cholesterol, you want to portion these well. Foods that contain saturated fats include red meats, whole milk, butter, dairy, and eggs.

Trans Fats

These fats get a thumbs down because they will lower the good cholesterol and increase the bad cholesterol when consumed regularly. This doesn't mean you can't enjoy treats from time to time, but think moderation with these foods: frosting, fried foods, cookies, doughnuts, and cakes. Hint: look for 'partially hydrogenated' on the list of ingredients.

Does Fat Make You Fat?

If consumed in moderation, absolutely not! Your body needs fat. Fat provides & helps you absorb fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E, and K for healthy skin, nails, and hair. It also serves to protect the organs, slows blood sugar absorption, and lubricates the joints.

How To Eat Fat

Keep portions in check - there can be too much of a good thing
Avoid "Fatty Sugar" - high fat + high simple carbohydrate foods (doughnuts, cakes, ice cream)
Eat a variety of fat sources - nuts, fish, oils, and seeds

Does Low Fat Mean 'Healthy'?

Low fat products like low-fat yogurt can have less fat, but can be pumped full of sugar or sugar alcohols. It is better to eat full-fat products that are the proper portion size rather than eating more of a low-fat food. The size of your thumb is the proper serving size of salad dressing, sour cream, cream cheese, peanut butter and hard cheeses. The thumbnail is the proper serving size for butter, margarine, mayo, and oils.

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