Eating healthy seems quite intuitive. But when we try to navigate the grocery store and all the diet information out there, it can be confusing, and even conflicting. When thinking of “fats”, people often automatically link it with “unhealthy”. However, there are different types of fats that play different roles in health, and not all of them are bad. But that is not all true, anymore. Quality, closeness to nature, and amount are even bigger factors.
Here’s a quick comparison of the different food fats, how they affect your blood cholesterol levels, common food sources, and recommended daily intake.
The general message is that cutting back on saturated fat can be good for health if people replace saturated fat with good fats, especially, polyunsaturated fats. While saturated fat may not be as harmful as once thought, unsaturated fat is still the healthiest kind.
To summarize, eating more healthy fats and less saturated fats:
- Lowers the “bad” LDL cholesterol
- Improves “good” HDL cholesterol while lowering bad and total cholesterol, reducing heart disease risk
- Helps prevent insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes
Eating refined carbohydrates, like sugar and starch, likely will have the same effect as saturated fat on your cholesterol. Doing this lowers both the “bad” LDL cholesterol and the “good” HDL cholesterol, and increases triglycerides. The net effect is equally as bad for the heart as eating too much saturated fat.