When people hear the word fat they usually think of things that they are "supposed to avoid" in their diet. The "fat is bad" message that we have heard all our lives is not true, some forms of dietary fat are extremely healthy and beneficial to your body.
There are four types of fat: mono-unsaturated, poly-unsaturated, saturated, and trans.
Mono-unsaturated fats come from foods like avocados, almonds, olives and olive oil, canola oil peanuts and peanut butter, and most other nuts. Poly-unsaturated fats come from foods like corn, soybean, safflower, and cottonseed oils, as well as fish. Both mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and can lower your LDLs (the harmful form of cholesterol) and increase your HDLs (the beneficial form of cholesterol).
Saturated fat comes from foods like whole milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, red meat,
chocolate, coconuts, coconut milk, and coconut oil. Saturated fats are solid at room
temperature and increase both your LDLs and HDLs. Trans fat is found in most margarines,
most commercial baked goods, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, deep fried fast
food, and vegetable shortening. These fats are solid or semi-solid at room temperature
and raise your LDLs and triglycerides.
Fats are important for many reasons. They carry fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins in the intestine, protect organs from injury, regulate body temperature and play an important role in growth and development. Both high fat and low fat diets can be unhealthy. Low fat diets do not include enough LDLs to keep your body healthy, but high fat diets can lead to heart disease, obesity, and various other serious health concerns.
For more information on fat, you can make an appointment with Health Services. To make an appointment stop by Health Services on the first floor of Jonsson Tower or call 580-5550.