Fats – the good, the bad and the ugly….

There are good fats and bad fats, and the worst of them all is saturated fat. Eating too much saturated fat increases the amount of cholesterol in your blood, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and possibly a stroke.

Saturated fats are found in red animal meat, meat products such as sausages and burgers, the skin of poultry, dairy products, lard, ghee, and many processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, pastries and crisps, as well as coconut oil and palm oil.

Meanwhile, some fats are good for us, particularly unsaturated fats. These come in two types, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, groundnut oil, rapeseed oil, olives, avocados, and some nuts.

Polyunsaturated fat is found mostly in plant-based foods and oils. Evidence shows that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease.

While some fats are good for us, others are not and one of those is trans fats, also called hydrogenated fats. Trans fats can occur naturally in some foods in small amounts, but they are primarily made through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them solid.

Trans fats are not essential for human life and are bad for us, so they should be avoided. Research studies show that trans fats can increase unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower healthy high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Beware!

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