Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Facts on Fat

I've been looking at the fat content of foods lately. We're trying to eat healthier and I'm trying to lose weight. So I'm taking a bit more time to read nutrition labels on packages when I shop. The challenge I'm finding is that foods that are lower in fat tend to have a lot more trans fats or polyunsaturated fats or hydrogenated fats and I realized I have no idea what all that means. So I turned to the Amerian Heart Association and the FDA websites for some definitions:

Trans Fats are hydrogenated fats. This is made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil in a process called hydrogenation. This increases shelf life and flavor to the fat.

Saturated Fats are found mostly in meat, animal products and some plants. This includes milk, butter, cheese and some oils. Saturated fat is the main culprit behind high cholesterol.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are referred to as the healthier fats. They are from fish, nuts, seeds and some plant oils. These fats can help lower your cholesterol when substituted for saturated and trans fats.

When you search 'fats' in a search engine thousands of hits pop up! Nutritionally our bodies need some fat in our diet each day. The challenge is to have a good blend of healthy fats or limit our intake of the higher cholesterol fats.

Want to learn more about the different types of fats? There is a great fat overview on the American Heart Associations website at http://is.gd/mJY9 as well as a good overview of comparing fats on food labels on the Food & Drug Administration's website at http://is.gd/mJVg.

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