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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Diet and Weight Loss >>  Worst and Best Fats

Saturated Fats and LDL Cholesterol

  1. Saturated Fats – They are usually solid in nature and are basically bad. The body uses them to produce really bad fats called LDL cholesterol. They are found in whole milk, dairy products, meats, cocoa butter, coconut, palm kernel oils.
  2. Polyunsaturated Fats – are liquid in nature contain omega-6 fatty acids and are found in corn, cotton seed, safflower and sunflower oils. Small amounts of it can help reduce cholesterol, but large amounts can be harmful, and cause inflammation and hinder immune system. It is a good fat that can turn bad.
  3. Triglycerides – Consumption of excess fatty foods, alcohol and refined sugar products converts excess calories into a form of fat known as triglycerides that are harmful.
  4. Trans Fats – Hydrogenated or trans fats are the worst fats. The polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils undergo hydrogenation. They increase bad cholesterol and reduce good cholesterol, and increase risk of diabetes and cancer. Cereal and packaged cakes and cookies contain high levels of trans fats.
  5. Monosaturated Fats – They are liquid at room temperature and are the best fats. They are found in avocados and nuts and canola, olive and peanut oil. It lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.

All fats are made primarily of triglycerides. In turn, these consist of fatty acids. Fatty acids can be classified into three main types; namely, saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Of the three of these, the main culprit in raising the cholesterol in the blood is the saturated fatty acid. Foods that have a high saturated fat content come from plants as well as animals. Some of the foods based on animals and which contain high levels of saturated fat include poultry fat, lard, beef tallow, and butter. There is a small amount contained in seafood as well. Oils based on plants which contain saturated fat include cocoa butter, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil. Four kinds of fats are present in the foods that we consume; they are the three main types of fatty acids (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) as well as trans fatty acids. The amounts in which these are present in food vary. The fatty acids responsible for increasing blood cholesterol are dietary cholesterol, trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids. While saturated fats increase LDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels that are high are associated with an increased risk of the development of heart disease, the message that has come about is that saturated fat that comes from dairy only raises fluffy, large forms of LDL. More information regarding saturated fats and high LDL cholesterol levels may be found on the internet.

At room temperature, saturated fats are usually solid and are therefore more stable. Saturated fatty acids are the primary dietary culprit in increasing the cholesterol in the blood. The main fatty acid sources in a typical American diet come from both plant and animals food sources. Some of the foods that contain a high amount of saturated fatty acids and which come from animals include dairy products prepared from whole milk, cheeses, milk, cream, butter, poultry fat, lard, pork, lamb, veal, beef fat, and beef. Some of the plant foods that have a high quantity of saturated fatty acids include tropical oils and cocoa butter.
With foods like cocoa butter, milk, lamb, and pork that contain saturated fats, LDL and HDL get raised. Therefore, you should ensure that your intake of saturated fat is around seven percent or less of the total consumption of calories. The relationship between saturated fat and LDL particle size is that the saturated fat tends to increase the large LDL particles. LDL or bad cholesterol is usually associated with coronary heart disease. The deposits of LDL protein can form hard and thick substances known as plaque to narrow and clog the hearts arteries. The deposits in the walls of the arteries are taken by this cholesterol and sent to the liver. To increase the levels of HDL and lower the LDL levels you should perform exercises to get rid of 10 percent of the weight of your body. If you are obese, you can raise the HDL and lower the LDL by losing weight. However, the HDL levels may not increase significantly, especially if you do a lot of resistance training without including aerobic exercises. According to some studies, taking statin, whether lovastatin, rosuvastatin or simvastatin, can bring about a reduction of the LDL levels between 10 to 55 percent. Your doctor may also give you another medication along with the statin to give better results. Some of the side effects can include discomfort and muscle weakness. It is also important that you avoid smoking as it is considered to decrease the HDL levels.

The relationship between saturated fat and LDL receptors is that the number of LDL receptors can be controlled by following a proper diet in which the high cholesterol foods and saturated foods which cause damage to the functioning of the LDL receptors are eliminated or limited in the diet. There are also some genetic factors wherein there is a defect in the LDL receptors and there is also the factor of age. The relationship between saturated fat and LDL oxidation is that by lowering total fat and dietary saturated fat, you can reduce the LDL oxidation. To reduce saturated fat and LDL cholesterol, diets are available on the Internet that can be of help. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat reduces triglyceride blood levels. Saturated fats and trans fats increase them.

How do monounsaturated fats affect cholesterol?

When choosing the right kind of diet for you it is essential that you know how monounsaturated fats affect cholesterol levels. The effect of monounsaturated acids on HDL and LDL is that it lowers the LDL cholesterol which is considered bad and increases the HDL cholesterol which is considered to be good. Nuts like pistachios, almonds, walnuts, peanuts; avocado, olive, and canola oil have a high content of monounsaturated fats. A monounsaturated fat diet also helps in protecting the LDL from the free radicals which can damage it. Because of the significant effects the different fats have on the body, it is important that you select foods that will lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol.

Types of Fat

Conventionally all types of fats were considered to be bad fats in terms of ones cardiovascular health and other diseases. However with years of research dietitians have now been able to classify and state which are the best fats and which are the worst fats from ones health point of view. Typically the good fats are the unsaturated fats which are known to help one fight the  same diseases that  are known to be caused by consuming excess fats. Unsaturated fats are further classified into polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats both of which are known to have a positive effect on ones cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fats are also known to be a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids  which is usually found in nuts, oil, seeds, fish as well as in dark green leafy vegetables. Omega 3 fatty acids are considered to be important as they tend to lower ones blood pressure levels, protect the nervous system and the brain and also fight inflammation besides lowering the bad cholesterol levels.

Similarly monounsaturated fats are also known to lower the levels of bad cholesterol and raise the levels of good cholesterol in the body. Hence unsaturated fats are known to be best fats  and the good part is that most cooking oils are made up of unsaturated fats an done should in fact try and switch to olive oil or canola oil for cooking as they tend to have high levels of monounsaturated fats.The bad fats are those fats that are known to clog ones artery and the primary sources of such fats are dairy products and meats. These type of saturated fats are usually found in a solid state at room temperature and they also are responsible for raising the bad cholesterol levels in the individual.

Similarly the worst type of fats is trans fats which are also known as hydrogenated fats. Trans fats are created during the hydrogenation process wherein liquid vegetable oils tends to get  converted into unhealthy solid fats. Trans fats are known to be the worst fats that are even worse than saturated fats as they  not only are responsible for raising the levels of the total bad cholesterol but they are also responsible for lowering the levels of good cholesterol in an individual. Some of the common sources of trans fats are various processed foods such as cookies, pizzas, french fries, fried chicken and other such fats foods that are easily available nowadays.

Submitted on January 16, 2014