Most foods contain a mixture of different types of fat, but are classified according to the most predominant fat. There are 3 basic types of fat and each has a different effect on the body.
Saturated fats can increase the level of total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL) in our body. They are also associated with heart disease regardless of cholesterol levels and may have other harmful effects in the body e.g. they may increase the risk of diabetes and cancer. We all should less of this type of fat, regardless of our weight or cholesterol levels..
Monounsaturated fats can help to reduce the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and appear to be protective against heart disease. These fats should make up the majority of fats in the diet. Olive oil in particular appears to be a significant contributor to the known benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
There are 2 forms of polyunsaturated fats: omega 3 and omega 6 fats. Omega 3 fats reduce the tendency for blood to clot, protect against arrhythmias, lower triglycerides and may lower elevated blood pressure. They have an anti- inflammatory effect in the body. Polyunsaturated fats are effective at reducing total and LDL cholesterol, but there is some controversy about how much of these fats should be included in the diet.
|SATURATED FATS||POLYUNSATURATED FATS||MONOUNSATURATED FATS|
Salami and mettwurst
Full cream milk
Full fat cheese
Premium ice cream
Coconut, coconut milk and cream
Commercial biscuits and cakes
Pastry, pies, pasties
Deep fried foods
Potato and corn chips
Polyunsaturated margarine Polyunsaturated oil|
Cotton seed oil
Seeds - sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, linseed
Nuts – walnuts, pine nuts, brazil nuts
Olive oil margarine
Even when when following a low fat diet, it is important to include some unsaturated fats in your daily menu.