The Truth About Fats

Find out the facts about fats -- which fats you need, and which fats to avoid.
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Bad Fats

Saturated Fats

Excessive intakes of these fats can elevate LDL (or "bad" cholesterol), upping your risk of heart disease. While eliminating all saturated fat isn't realistic (unless you are a vegan), eating lean cuts of meat and low-fat dairy will put you on the fast track to better health.

Food sources: Fatty cuts of meat, whole and 2 percent milk, whole cheese, butter, premium ice cream, poultry skin

Healthy Tips About Saturated Fats

  • Choose lean meats and fish over fatty cuts.
  • Order foods that are grilled or baked.
  • Replace butter with oil on your rolls.
  • Cook vegetarian meals from time to time.

Trans Fats

Heating liquid oils to very high temperatures (in a process known as hydrogenation) creates trans fats. They are essentially unsaturated fats that have been converted into saturated fats. Because trans fats behave like saturated fats, avoid them. Starting in 2006, manufacturers will be required to list trans fats on food labels. But for now, you have to be a sleuth: If a label says "partially hydrogenated fats," the product contains trans fats.

Food sources: Processed foods like cookies, crackers, potato and tortilla chips, and margarines; fried fast foods

Healthy Tip About Trans Fats

  • "Just because something is trans-fat-free doesn't mean it's calorie-free," says Lisa Hark, PhD, RD, a leading nutrition educator. She is concerned about manufacturers' trend of putting "trans fat free" on the label.

Continued on page 2:  Good Fats


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