Healthy Habit for 2020: Less Saturated Fat and Trans-Fat

Healthy Habit for 2020: Less Saturated Fat and Trans-Fat

January 5, 2020

I get concerned when clients tell me about trying out the latest fad diet. A lot of the fad diets today, like Keto or Paleo focus on high proteins and low carbs. Unfortunately, with high protein often comes fat. Some fats are good—I’ll talk about those in my next blog.

In this entry I’m talking about the bad guys-Saturated Fat and Trans Fat. These are fats we need to avoid as much as possible. These fats not only lead to weight gain, but also have a negative impact on our heart, raising our LDL cholesterol levels.

Let’s start with trans-fat. In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration published a rule that required all packaged food to list the amount of trans fat in their food effective January 2006 . They made this decision as a result of research indicating the dangers of trans fat and how it was a huge contributor to the obesity epidemic, type-II diabetes and heart disease. So maybe you tried to look for trans-fat on food labels and would choose not to purchase something that was high in trans-fat. Eventually, made food companies started reducing trans-fat in their products.

However, trans-fat is not only found in packaged food; virtually anything fried has trans-fat. So yes, I’m telling you to avoid fried food. If you love chicken wings or French fries or even a good fish fry, I’m not telling you to never eat them, just make it a rare occasion.

Limit solid fat as they are either trans-fat or saturated fat. Reduce the amount of butter (saturated fat), margarine (trans fat), or shortening (trans fat) you add to food when cooking or serving. Instead of cooking with butter, for example, use olive oil or flavor your dishes with herbs or lemon juice.

You can also limit solid fat by trimming fat off your meat or choosing leaner, healthier proteins. Swap out high-fat foods for their lower-fat counterparts. Choose 1% or skimmed milk instead of whole milk, olive oil-based margarine for butter, and lean meats like chicken and fish in place of ribs or ground meat. When cooking, use liquid oils like canola, olive, safflower, or sunflower, and substitute two egg whites for one whole egg in a recipe. These substitutions can save you an entire day’s worth of saturated fat.

Check food labels on any prepared foods. Many meals and snacks—even those labeled “reduced fat” or “low cholesterol” —may be made with oils containing trans fats. One clue that a food has some trans-fat is the phrase “partially hydrogenated.” And look for hidden fat; re fried beans may contain lard, or breakfast cereals may have significant amounts of fat (as well as lots of heart-risky sugar). Change your habits.

The best way to avoid saturated or trans fats is to change your lifestyle practices. Instead of chips, snack on fruit, vegetables, or unsalted nuts. At restaurants, ask that sauces or dressings be put on the side—or left off altogether. Make smart choices. Choose foods rich in unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. Fruits, vegetables, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds are all great cholesterol regulators. The best foods for lowering LDL cholesterol are oatmeal, fish, walnuts (and other nuts), olive oil, and foods fortified with sterols or stanols—substances found in plants that help block the absorption of cholesterol—such as corn, beans, peanut butter, almonds, oranges, apples, and avocados

My next entry will educate you about healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)—these types of fat are oh so good for you; they can improve your heart health so be sure to check out that blog.

What foods high in trans fat or saturated fat are hard for you to avoid> Tell us about it I the comments section and we may be able to suggest a good substitute!

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