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Different Types of Fat and Why Some are Good For You

Fat is a macronutrient that often gets a bad rap because it contributes to weight gain. However, people should be cognizant of the fact that all fat is not bad. Below are some of the differences between good and bad fat:

Bad fats

*Saturated- Saturated fat has one single bond and is found in animal foods. This type of fat raises LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol. Studies have also shown that eating a diet high in saturated fat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

*Trans fat- Trans fat is a type of unsaturated fat that is made through the process of hydrogenation. Processed and packaged foods are sources of trans fat. Trans fat is even more dangerous than saturated fat because it raises total cholesterol and LDL, while lowering HDL (good cholesterol.) This type of fat also increases the risk of coronary artery disease.

Good Fat

*Monounsaturated-Monounsaturated fat contains one double bond. Olives, avocados, sunflower seeds and peanuts are examples of foods that are rich in this type of fat. Monounsaturated fat helps improve cholesterol levels. It can also help lower blood sugar.

*Polyunsaturated fat- Polyunsaturated fats are made up of more than one double bond. Omega 3 fatty acids are the most well-known type of this fat. Fish, nuts and flaxseed are excellent sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that people who eat a diet that is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids may have a reduced risk of heart disease.

Eating a well-balanced diet will allow a person to get enough good fats and limited amounts of the bad fats.

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