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The Facts on Omega-3 Fats continued...

Omega-3 fats are linked to lower levels of blood triglycerides (fats), reduced risk of clots that block the flow of blood to the heart and brain, and a normal heart beat, among other benefits.

Seafood contains preformed omega-3 fats, the type the body prefers. Adults and children can make DHA and EPA from the essential fat alpha-linolenic acid, found in foods such as walnuts and flax, but experts say less than 10% is actually converted. Fatty, cold-water fish, such as salmon, sardines, and tuna are rich in preformed omega-3s. 

The Facts on Unhealthy Saturated Fat

When eaten to excess, saturated fat contributes to clogged arteries that block blood flow, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Saturated fat is worse than dietary cholesterol when it comes to raising blood cholesterol levels, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Saturated fat is concentrated in fatty meats, and full-fat dairy foods including cheese, ice cream, and whole milk. Animal foods supply most saturated fat in our diet. But highly saturated vegetable fats such as coconut oil, palm, palm kernel oil, and cocoa butter are also unhealthy. They're widely used in packaged foods including milk chocolate, cookies, crackers, and snack chips.

There's no dietary requirement for saturated fat because your body produces all that it needs. Yet, there's no need to completely avoid foods with saturated fat in the name of good health.  Foods such as meat, cheese, and milk pack a multitude of nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. Just try to keep saturated fat to less than 7% of all the fat you eat.

The Facts on Trans Fat: A Bad Fat in a League of Its Own

Like saturated fat, trans fat contributes to clogged arteries. Even worse, it's been linked to certain cancers, including breast and colorectal, in population studies. 

Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health have estimated that eliminating trans fats from the American diet could prevent about a quarter of a million heart attacks and related deaths every year. 

Trace amounts of naturally-occurring trans fat are present in fatty meats and full-fat dairy foods.  But, by far, most of the trans fat we eat is the end product of hydrogenation. Hydrogenation (the addition of hydrogen) converts oil into a firmer, tastier product with a longer shelf life. In the process, some of the unsaturated fat in the oil becomes saturated.

Eating Healthy in Restaurants:

Follow these ordering tips to ensure you eat healthfully when you dine out.
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