Nutrition: the facts about fats

Saw this link on Twitter and thought it had some good facts! Nutrition: the facts about fats |

Entire books have been written about dietary fats, but the truth is that while few of us need to know the intricacies, we should know the basics. So here are some brief facts about the fats in food:

Some nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E, K and carotenoids (antioxidants found in some fresh fruits and vegetables), require a little fat for absorption and so a drizzle of olive oil on a salad or vegetables, or a few seeds sprinkled on a fresh fruit is advisable. ((note from Meg: this is why when people eat only fat free salads.. well you get the idea. A little olive oil or some nuts sprinkled on top helps you absorb))

Omega 3 fats are perhaps the best known of the beneficial fats, found mostly in oily fish, walnuts, linseeds, soybeans/tofu and purslane. They help reduce blood pressure, alleviate inflammation, balance blood glucose, combat dry skin and may influence mood. ((note from Meg  - also in flax and chia seeds, which I regularly add to yogurt, ce

Saturated fat, of which there are several types, is typified by the white fat you see on the underside of poultry skin, or marbled through red meat. We can use very small amounts of saturated fats, but excess can encourage raised cholesterol. Perversely, one saturated fat, stearic acid, can lower cholesterol and you may be pleased to learn that it is found in chocolate. But a high-sugar content can negate the benefits, so go for very dark chocolate. In general however, saturated fats should be avoided.

Trans-fats are generally created in a laboratory and are solid at room temperature, thus useful to the food industry. They are mostly used in cakes, biscuits, confectionery, puddings and pizza, and are also popular with fast food restaurants as they are cheap and long-lasting. Also called hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) vegetable oil or vegetable shortening, trans fats can raise LDL (the bad cholesterol) while lowering HDL (the good type) as well as block absorption of good fats. Avoid in all forms.