September 28, 2017

Food Fats – What Are They?

Fat is an important part of what you eat, however it is important to think about the amount and type of fat that you eat. There are certain fats that are considered to be healthy (e.g. unsaturated) and others to be unhealthy (e.g. saturated and trans fat).

Eating unhealthy fats and too much of any type of fat can increase your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Try using healthy recipes to reduce the amount of fat that you eat.

Healthy food fatsHealthy fats

Unsaturated fats are considered to be healthy because they provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids can help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide recommends that you include a small amount of healthier fats in what you eat each day. It recommends 2-3 tablespoons, or 30-45 millilitres daily.

There are two main types of unsaturated fats:

  • POLYUNSATURATED – Found in all vegetable oils and in high amounts in sesame, safflower, soybean, corn and sunflower-seed oils. It is also found in oily fish (e.g. salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout), and most nuts and seeds.
  • MONOUNSATURATED – Found in all vegetable oils and in high amounts in olive, canola, peanut, sunflower and sesame oils. It is also found in avocados, peanut butter, and many nuts and seeds.

fried chickenUnhealthy fats

Saturated fats and trans fats are considered to be unhealthy because they have been shown to raise ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. This increases your risk of heart disease. As well, trans fats not only raises ‘bad’ cholesterol but also lowers ‘good’ cholesterol at the same time.

  • SATURATED – Found in high amounts in meat, poultry, and higher fat milk and dairy products. It is also found in lard, and coconut and palm oils.
  • TRANS – Trans fat is artificially created when a liquid vegetable oil is made into a solid fat, such as margarine or shortening. It is commonly found in commercially prepared baked foods (e.g. muffins, donuts, cookies), deep fried foods (e.g. chicken nuggets, fish sticks, French fries), ready-to-eat and frozen foods (e.g. quiche, burritos, pizza), and convenience foods (e.g. taco shells, pie crust, muffin and cake mixes). 

This information was provided by Toronto Public Health. Information provided on the FoodReach website does not replace any advice given by a doctor and does not provide all of the necessary information regarding your health, nutrition and preventing illnesses.

 

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