Saturday, 31 July 2010

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Good & Bad Fats & Oils in Food/Gode og Dårlige Fedtstoffer og Olie i Mad/好与坏的脂肪[hǎo yǔ huài de zhī fáng]



* Nuts contain both monounsturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Nuts are classified here in the category of predominant fatty acid.

It is not true that all fats are bad. For babies and toddlers, they need the good fats for brain development. As adults, we need good fats in our diets to prevent Alzheimer’s disease in our old age. Fats are also needed to hold essential fatty acids (EFAs) and the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).

There are 4 types of fats:

1. The good fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (i.e. avocado, olive oil, flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, cod)

2. The bad fats – saturated fats (i.e. butter, cheese, dairy products)

3. The worse fats – trans-fatty acids from man-made fully hydrogenated fats (i.e. deep-fried food stuff, chips, commercially prepared baked food such as cakes, cookies, pies, etc.)

4. The worst fats – trans-fatty acids from man-made partially hydrogenated fats (i.e. margarine, commercially prepared baked food such as cakes, cookies, pies, etc.)

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Additional Information:
The good fats are unsaturated and there are 2 types of unsaturated fats:

1. Monounsaturated fats - found primarily in most vegetable oils (i.e. avocado, olive and canola/rapeseed)

2. Polyunsaturated fats - found primarily in fish, nut and seed oils (i.e. Sunflower, safflower, walnut, soy, corn)

Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your blood cholesterol level when you use them in place of saturated and trans fats.

Furthermore, the fats we need are called Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). EFAs are the fats we must get from our diet, because our bodies cannot manufacture them.

There are only 2 fatty acids that are considered essential:

1. Alpha Linolenic acid (LNA) – found in Omega-3 fatty acids

2. Linoleic acid (LA) – found in Omega-6 fatty acids

These 2 EFAs are both polyunsaturated fats and make up a large percentage of our brain tissues.

Omega-3 (LNA) is found in cold-water fatty fish (i.e. cod, mackerel, salmon and tuna), flaxseeds (contains a high amount), walnuts, soy beans and olive oil (contains only small amount)

Omega-6 (LA) is found in sunflower seeds, corn oil, safflower seeds.

The bad fats to avoid is the saturated fats found in animal and daily products such as beef, pork, chicken, lard, butter, eggs and a few vegetables such as palm oil and coconuts. Saturated fats are called saturated, because they contain a maximum amount of hydrogen (i.e. they are saturated with hydrogen).

The worse fats to avoid are the man-made trans fatty acids (TFAs) found in margarine and confectionery.

TFAs are produced either by adding hydrogen to monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats or by heating food containing oils to high temperatures. Manufacturers do so to improve the texture of food such as margarine and cakes as well as to extend the shelf-life of products and fats. TFAs is a very cheap way to make fats less prone to rancidity. Therefore deep-fried food contains lots of TFAs.

The worst fat to avoid is the partially hydrogenated oils. They are are worse than fully hydrogenated fats. If an oil is only partially hydrogenated, the part that has not takne on hydrogen – the unsaturated part – is open to the formation of TFAs. TFAs are carcinogenic and have found to raise the bad cholesterol levels in the bloodstream and lower the good cholesterol levels.

Although we need some unsaturated fats in our diet, nevertheless, an overabundance may lead to serious health problems. Polyunsaturated fats, when consumed in excess, may lower HDL (the good cholestrol) levels in the blood stream.

Monounsaturated fats are the only fats that have managed to keep a clean bill of health through all the scientific studies.

References:
Pg 510 of Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron



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