You’ve probably heard about the movement to eat more good cholesterol and less bad cholesterol, but what differentiates the two?
Bad fats are labels given to two kinds of fats: Saturated fats and trans fats, both which increase your health risk. Good fats, like monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, lower disease risks.
The levels of bad cholesterol, labeled as LDL, in your bloodstream must be 160 mg/dL or lower if you want to be considered healthy and low-risk for disease. Otherwise, it means that you are definitely at risk. LDL in big amounts can cause artery deposits which can lead to a variety of cardiovascular diseases.
If you have been tested to have high LDL or bad cholesterol levels, your doctor will probably recommend you to lower these levels. To do that, you have to avoid eating food with cholesterol, especially bad cholesterol. Here’s a quick guide to help you do just exactly that.
Food to Avoid
- Food Rich in Saturated Fat
- Meat, mainly red meat like beef and pork
- Whole milk products such as butter, cheese, milk and ice cream
- Coconuts and coconut oil
- Palm oil
- Palm kernel oil
- Dairy fats
- Processed meat such as bologna
- Fatty parts of meat, such as bacon
Saturated fat can come in surprising packages as well. For example, favorite foods such as packaged cookies, chips and frozen entrees are made using palm oil or palm kernel oil. If you can’t keep away from the craving for sweets, make sure that your pastries are made with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils like sunflower oil, canola oil or olive oil.
How much saturated fat should you eat at the minimum? According to the American Dietetic Association, saturated fat should make up only seven to ten percent of your total calories.
Food Rich in Trans Fatty Acids
Commercially prepared baked goods
Processed meat such as hot dogs and sausages
Trans fatty acids, more commonly known as trans fat, has permeated society’s food by being a practical means of preserving it. Trans fat arises from heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas. This is called hyrdogenation, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils means that longer shelf life, easy transport and less chances of spoilage. It comes as no surprise that most fast food, which require constant frying and refrying, favor food rich in trans fat. Most commercial food also favor trans fats, because this means longer shelf life for their products.
How much trans fat is allowed? Zero trans fat is the ideal number, and two grams a day is the limit. Yes, that means, if you can avoid trans fat food entirely, avoid it.