07 June 2011

The confusion about fats

Are you confused about the different types of fats there are? You are not alone. It can be a bit overwhelming. Dietdoc gives a few tips.

It is evident that there is a lot of confusion about fats. If you keep in mind that fats are classified as saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans-fats, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fats, that there is also confusion about palm oil and palm kernel oil, and that cholesterol is also important, then it is no wonder that the public can't make head or tail of fats.

Populations that eat large amounts of fat, especially animal fat, suffer more frequently from these degenerative diseases, than populations that have a low fat intake. South Africa is a good example: rural black populations eat very little fat and heart attacks and atherosclerosis are practically unknown in this group; however, the white population of South Africa have a very high fat intake and heart disease is a major cause of death.

  • Saturated fats
  • Trans-fats
  • Monounsaturated fats
  • Polyunsaturated fats
  • Omega-3
  • Omega-6
  • Cholesterol

  • Red meat (especially beef and mutton)
  • Butter
  • Full cream milk and dairy products
  • Cream
  • Certain plant fats such as coconut or palm kernel oil
  • Hard or brick margarine (hydrogenated fats) contains mainly saturated fat and can contain trans-fats
  • Pies and pastries made with lard or hydrogenated fat

  • eat smaller portions of red meat
  • buy meat with a lower fat content - chicken, lean pork, venison and ostrich
  • cut off all visible fat, including the skin of poultry
  • use low-fat, skim or fat-free milk and dairy products such as yoghurt and cottage cheese (this will prevent calcium and B2 deficiencies)
  • eat fish at least 2 or 3 times a week
  • substitute legumes (dry, cooked beans, peas, lentils or soya) for meat
  • have at least two meat-free main meals a week

  • plant fats, such as avocado, and avocado oil
  • olives and olive oil, and soft or tub margarine made from olive oil
  • nuts
  • canola oil and soft or tub margarine made with canola oil

  • Include plenty of carbohydrate in the form of pasta, legumes and unrefined cereals
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables for their protective vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • Eat very little red meat, concentrating on chicken and low-fat fish to lower your fat intake
  • Eat lots of olives and olive oil, nuts and avocado
  • Use garlic in cooking
  • Drink moderate quantities of red wine

  • plant oils, such as soya and sunflower oil
  • soft or tub margarines which state that they have a high polyunsaturated fat content on the label
  • foods made with the above mentioned plant oils
  • fatty fish like tuna, sardines, and salmon
  • red palm oil (not to be confused with palm kernel oil which is high in saturated fat)

  • use oil instead of butter for cooking
  • make salad dressings with sunflower, olive, avocado, red palm or canola oil
  • eat fatty fish (see above)


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