Fats: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting cholesterol-boosters such as saturated fats and trans fatty acids.
Trans fatty acids are found in vegetable oil that has been mixed with hydrogen, or hydrogenated. The process transforms the unsaturated vegetable oil to a more saturated form, such as solid margarine. Look for foods with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats (for example, olive, canola, and peanut oils) are those that begin to harden when refrigerated. Polyunsaturated fats (for example, safflower, corn, and other oils) always remain completely liquid.
Here is more information about each of these types of fats:
Monounsaturated Fats: Vegetable oils such as peanut, olive, and canola; peanuts, pecans, almonds, and avocados.
Polyunsaturated Fats: Vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, sunflower, flaxseed, and safflower; fatty fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, and sardines; most nuts.
Saturated Fats: Animal products, especially beef, full-fat dairy products, any type of fried meat, and any type of ground meat that may have the skin mixed in to add moistness; tropical oils including palm, palm kernel, and coconut.
Trans Fatty Acids (TFAs): Some margarines; virtually all prepackaged, prepared foods including frozen dinners, breakfast foods, vegetable dishes, and desserts; dry mixes for dressing, rice, macaroni, and hamburger dishes; chips; baked goods including breads, cookies, cakes, and crackers; fried fast foods.
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