Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Saturated Fats Bad, Polyunsaturated Fats Better

A recent study from Sweden and published by the American Heart Association has found that a diet rich in saturated fats leads to an unhealthy balance in serum cholesterol levels, whereas polyunsaturated fats have a more beneficial response. J Am Heart Assoc. 2014; 3: e001095

Comment: there are two important issues to consider when evaluating this study. First, adding polyunsaturated fats to the diet tends to lead to weight gain, which in most people will lead to excess weight gain. So, it is important to substitute polyunsaturated fats for calories coming from other sources. Secondly, it  does appear that saturated fats are not very good for you. Based on this study, here's a brief list of the "bad" fats (saturated) and the "better" fats (polyunsaturated).

  • most come from animal sources including meat and dairy products
  • fatty beef
  • lamb
  • port
  • poultry with skin
  • butter
  • most cheeses
  • dairy products made with whole or 2% reduced fat mil.
  • palm oil, coconut oil
  • OILS: soybean, corn, sunflower
  • some fish oils (salmon, mackerel, herring, trout)
  • walnuts, sunflower seeds
  • tofu
  • soybeans
  • flaxseed
 Now, what about "mono" unsaturated fats? These might be the best kinds of dietary fats, but at least they are considered to be better than saturated fats.

  • OILS: olive, canola, peanut, safflower, and sesame
  • Avocados
  • peanut butter (check the label)
  • many nuts and seeds, e.g. macadamia, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios, cashews
  • certain types of margarine
  • cheeses: roquefort, monterey jack, parmesan
  • eggs (mostly good fats but also contain saturated fat)

  • Regular exercise and a stable, healthy weight are very important. 
  • High sugar foods are almost always "BAD"

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