Nature Fresh

What Are Fats and Oils?

The word "fats" names a food group that includes what you probably think of as both fats and oils. Fats come from animal and plant Supplies and are usually solid at room temperature; oils are produced mainly from plants, and are liquid. The most common oils are extracted from seeds (safflower, sunflower, sesame, canola, flax), beans (peanuts, soy), grains (corn, wheat germ), fruits (avocado, olive), and nuts (almond, coconut, walnut, palm kernel).

Know Your Fat Facts- The Good And The Bad

You've heard it before, and you've had a hard time believing it, so we're going to say it again, and this time, we're going to prove it.Not all fats are bad.

Here's what you need to know about the fats in your food- the good, the bad and the ones that are killing you slowly.

  • Monounsaturated Fats- Good for you

    Known as "Good Fats", this type of fat is found in a range of delicious foods. Numerous studies have shown that consuming foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, and decreases your risk of heart disease and breast cancer. MUFAs have also been known to decrease insulin levels and aid blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have Type 2 diabetes. MUFAs also helps with weight loss, increasing energy levels and smoothening of hair and skin.

    Primary Sources: Olives, olive oil, nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecans

  • Polyunsaturated Fats- Okay for you

    This fat is found in plant as well as animal foods, for example, salmon, and vegetable oils. PUFAs can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. One type of polyunsaturated fat is omega-3 fatty acids is especially beneficial for your heart, and is found in some types of fatty fish. It appears to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease and may also protect against irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure levels.

    Primary Sources: Walnuts, soybean oil, flax oil, sunflower seeds, corn oil, fish

  • Saturated Fats- Bad for you

    Food items high in saturated fat are usually animal-based, but there are plant foods high in saturated fat, too. One of the unhealthiest fats in the world, saturated fat raises your total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat may also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

    Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions.

    Primary Sources: Butter, lard, tallow, suet, high fat dairy products (whole milk, cream, cheese, etc.), high fat meats, palm kernel, coconut oil, cottonseed oil, cheese

Trans Fats- Terrible for you

These are the fats that are so bad that you actually feel guilty while eating them (or at least, you should). Most trans fats are made from oils through a food processing method called partial hydrogenation, a process that makes them easier to cook with and less likely to spoil. Make sure you read the trans-fat quantity of the nutrition label of food items before you buy it. Anything more than 0 grams is risky.

Studies have shown time and again that partially hydrogenated trans fats can increase unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and even increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Primary sources sweet stuff like cakes, doughnuts, ice cream, biscuits, fast food like burgers, pizza, pies, french fries, margarine, anything fried, instant noodles and beef.

It's essential you know what each of the 4 types of fats are so you can maintain a truly balanced diet which- contrary to what you may have believed- isn't possible without fats.