Which is the best diet of the day? How to do it in a healthy way?
Healthy dieting? Nowadays, it’s all about diets. We want to lose weight by dieting, but tend to forget they have to be healthy to be worth it. And to work! I know myself from trying many different diets for weight loss, it’s not about doing the right diet, it’s about choosing a healthy and balanced diet as your lifestyle. But how do fats come into the equation? One mistake I used to make was to avoid fats at all cost, but the truth is some fats are good for you, even essential to a healthy diet. Don’t get me wrong all fats have the same amount of calories but when eaten in moderation have different effects on the body.
There are two types of fats, saturated and unsaturated, the ladder being the good fats. But lets first take a look at the bad guys. Saturated fats are the ones we need to keep to a minimum. These fats can raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries, and increase the risk for heart disease. Where do we find these fats? A majority of these fats come from animal products including meat and dairy, but are also going to be found in fried foods such as french fries and baked goods.
In which foods exactly will we find these fats?
Common examples are fatty beef,lamb, pork, poultry with skin, beef fat (tallow),lard and cream, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk. The American Heart Association recommends keeping them to just 7% of total calories a day.
The other fats that have been getting a lot of heat are trans fatty acids, or trans fats. Trans fatty acids are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Another word to describe this category you might be more familiar with are processed foods.
Trans fats raise your bad cholesterol levels and lower your good cholesterol levels. Then why do so many companies use trans fats? They help preserve food for a longer time, they are cheap, and well it makes for a desirable taste. Trans fats can be found in many foods including fried foods. Also, they are found in baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, and margarine.
Not all fats are bad though!
There ARE good fats as healthy alternatives that are good for your health! After all we need fat in our diet. Good fats provide essential fatty acids, keep our skin soft, deliver fat-soluble vitamins, and are a great source of energizing fuel.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats are the two categories of unsaturated fats. When eaten in moderation, can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Polyunsaturated fats provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. According to the American Heart Association, oils rich in poly-unsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of. These oils include omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which the body cannot produce on its own, and must get from food or supplements. You can find omega-3 in a variety of natural sources which include fatty fish such as salmon or trout, flaxseed and walnuts.
Live smart, live healthy
Living in Greece, I am spoiled with a great source of monounsaturated fats. Why? Mediterranean countries consume lots of these, usually in the form of olive oil a diet component which credits the low levels of heart disease in this part of the world. We can also find these good fats in olives, avocados, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, canola, and peanut oils.
As you can see fats are more on a continuous path of good to bad than previously thought.
We still need to watch out for our trans fats because they can be harmful to our health, as well as saturated fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can be a great source of vitamins and a healthy alternative to the harmful fats. These fats are an important part of our diet, but it’s still crucial to moderate your consumption of them because all fats are high in calories. If we incorporate these foods correctly, it will greatly improve our quality of life.