Fat is a nutrient that helps the body function in various ways: For example it supplies the body with energy. It also helps other nutrients work and, when it becomes fatty tissue, it protects organs and provides insulation, keeping you warm. But the body only needs small amounts of fat. Too much fate can have bad effects, including turning into unwanted excess pounds and increasing cholesterol in the bloodstream.
There are different types of fat, and they have different effects on your risk of heart disease. Knowing which fat does what can help you choose healthier foods.
Total Fat. This is the sum of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats and transfatty acids in food. Foods have a varying mix of these three types.
This fat is usually solid at room and refrigerator temperatures. It is found in greatest amounts in foods from animals, such as fatty cuts of meat, poultry with the skin, whole-milk dairy products, lard, and some vegetable oils, including coconut and palm oils. Saturated fat increases cholesterol in the blood more than anything else in the diet. Keep your intake of saturated fat low.
This fat is usually liquid at room and refrigerator temperatures. Unsaturated fats occur in vegetable oils, most nuts, olives, avocadoes, and fatty fish, such as salmon.
There are types of unsaturated fat-monosaturated and poly unsaturated. When used instead of saturated fat, monounsaturated an polyunsaturated fats help lower blood cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated fat is found in greatest amounts in foods from plants, including olive, canola, sunflower, and peanut oils. Polyunsaturated fat is found in greatest amounts in foods for plants, including safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils, and many kinds of nuts. A type of polyunsaturated fat is called amega-3 fatty acids, which are being studies to see if they help guard against heart disease. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are some fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
Use moderate amounts of food high in unsaturated fats, taking care to avoid excess calories.
Transfatty acids. Foods high in trans fatty acids tend to raise blood cholesterol. These foods include those high in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as many hard margarines and shortenings. Foods with a high amount of these ingredients include some commercially friend foods and some bakery goods.
The best way to cook to reduce fat
There’s a host of lowfat cooking methods. Try these-but remember not to add butter or high-fat sauces:
Lightly stir fry or sauté in cooking spray, small amount of vegetable oil, or reduced sodium broth.
Grill seafood, chicken, or vegetables.