Sunday 4.24.11

Daily recommended saturated and trans fats

Question: What are Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated Fats? And are they bad?

First lets start with Unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature. They are found in most vegetable products and oils. An exception is a group of tropical oils like coconut or palm kernel oil which are highly saturated. Unsaturated fats, which have been proven to boost heart health, can be divided into two major categories: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Despite their slight differences in the chemical structure, both mono and polyunsaturated fats, have been linked to promoting heart health by modestly increasing HDL cholesterol and helping to lower LDL cholesterol. High density lipoproteins, also known as HDL, are molecules consisting of cholesterol and protein that carry cholesterol back from tissues or organs to the liver, where cholesterol will be degraded or recycled. Whereas, Low density lipoproteins, or LDL, are a combination of a cholesterol and a protein that circulate through the body and carry cholesterol from the liver and small intestine to other tissues and cells in the body that need it. It is also referred to as the "bad cholesterol.”

By replacing saturated fat and trans fats with foods containing mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help to protect you against heart disease. There is more evidence regarding this with polyunsaturated fats than monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats, are found in foods such as nuts and olives. You will find polyunsaturated fats are mostly in fish and grains, and just like monounsaturated fats, it contains more than one double bond between carbon atoms. Unlike, Trans fats, also known as “partially hydrogenated fats or trans fatty acids,” that have been linked to raising low density lipoproteins ("bad" cholesterol), lowering high density lipoproteins ("good" cholesterol); Trans fats are formed during hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is a process by which unsaturated fats are bombarded with hydrogen. This process introduces hydrogens on opposite sides of a double bond of the chemical structure of the trans fat. Trans fats do not occur naturally and are solid at room temperature. They are used commercially in foods in order to extend the shelf life of a food and to add texture. This can greatly increase your risk of heart disease.

The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that monounsaturated fats should consist of up to 20% of your daily caloric intake. Foods high in monounsaturated fats include:

• olive oil

• canola oil

• avocados

Polyunsaturated fats may consist of up to 10% of your daily caloric intake, according to the National Cholesterol Education Program. Polyunsaturated fats can be obtained from foods such as:

• Nuts

• Seeds

• Vegetable oils (corn oil, safflower oil)

So, to sum it all up....Mono and Polyunsaturated fats are both good fats that promote heart health by lowering LDL and increasing HDL, which protects you against heart disease, in addition to keeping your cholesterol low. By eating a diet that consists of lean meats, lots of fresh veggies, some fruits, nuts and seeds you will be doing your part in protecting you heart and keeping your arteries clean. Now go enjoy that Easter dinner!

1 comment:

  1. As always great information...but that is exactly why I can not sit down to a plate full of LosReyes nasty @$$ nachos, cheat day or not:)