A small percentage of fat is essential to maintain the overall balance of your diet. However, the excessive consumption of fat can be harmful to your long term health, and you can gain a lot of unnecessary body weight. Foods that are high in fat also have an increased amount of calories. (Typically 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.)
While it is advisable to include a small amount of fat in your diet, you should avoid certain types of fat such as Saturated Fats and Trans Fats.
Saturated FatsSaturated fats are those fats where the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms. Typically, saturated fats appear more solid at room temperature. They are linked with elevated levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol or LDL. Saturated fat is associated with severe medical ailments such as clogged arteries, strokes, and heart diseases.
- - Saturated fats are normally found in animal produce including dairy.
- - Fatty meat cuts including beef, lamb, and pork.
- - Poultry with skin.
- - Butter, lard, cream, cheese, tallow.
- - Baked savories, confectionary, and chocolates.
- - Cookies, cakes and pastries.
Trans FatsTrans Fats are more commonly known as ‘Partially Hydrogenated Oil’, and are artificial fats created from a process where hydrogen is bubbled through vegetable oil. Trace amounts of natural Trans Fat are also found in some dairy products and livestock. They are considered dangerous because they can elevate the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while decreasing the good cholesterol (HDL) in your blood. Trans Fat has been linked with higher incidences of strokes, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes.
- - They are typically found in fried and baked goods.
- - Pizzas, French fries, and doughnuts.
- - Pie crusts, margarine sticks, cookies, and pastries.
- - Any food which contains ‘partially hydrogenated oils’.
- - The American Heart Association recommends limiting the consumption of saturated fats and Trans Fats to 16g and 2g per day respectively.
- - Be wary of fat free chips which are made with complex fats that can destroy fat soluble vitamins. (A, D, E, and K)
- - Canola, Flaxseed, or Soy Oil should be used for most home cooking.