It’s important to remember that not all fats are bad. Fat is actually an important part of our diet and our body needs fat to absorb certain vitamins, to produce hormones, and to maintain cell structures. It is recommended that 20-35% of our total calories come from fat. However, it does not mean that 20-35% of our diet should consist of chips, French fries, and cookies. It is the type of fat that really matters.
There are two main types of fats that are beneficial parts of the diet: polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats can help to lower the bad type of cholesterol in out body (LDL-cholesterol) and they are found in fish (e.g. mackerel, herring, salmon, and trout), sunflower oil, safflower oil, nuts, seeds, etc. Polyunsaturated fats are commonly referred to as omega-3 and omega-6. Monounsaturated fats have two roles. One is decreasing the bad cholesterol and the other is increasing good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol). Monounsaturated fats are primary found in olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. These unsaturated fats are the types of fat that are better choices.
Fats to limit and avoid include saturated and trans (also called hydrogenated) fat, since they actually do the opposite of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These types of fat are commonly found in highly processed foods and/or animal fat. They should be limited in order to prevent heart disease and other chronic conditions. If you are looking for more ways to help reduce the fat intake in your diet, the Registered Dietitian at Altima Wellness Centre can help you to make healthier choices to address your dietary concerns.