Facts on the Types and Cholesterol

When you search the Web for information on Fats, you find that people seem obsessed with "Body Fat", "Ways to Fast Weight Loss" and the elusive "Secrets to Burning it off".

But Fats are not something that you need to be scared of, you can control it, they don’t control you. When you know the facts you can weigh up, How much and What types to eat.

There may be only one form of Body Fat, but there are many types of Fat that you will find in a typical diet. And are what you could call “Dietary Fats”.

These include;

  • These to can be broken down into other categories of their particular types. For the purposes of this website, I will not go completely into their molecular structure and how each of these differ. I will give you simple descriptions of each and advice on which may be bad or good for you.

    Everyone no matter how lean they may be will still carry a percentage of Body Fat. What you should be aiming for is a healthy percentage that is right for your “Body Type”. This is what is referred to as your B.M.I. or “Body Mass Index”.

    It is a calculation (statistical measurement) that compares a persons weight and height. This calculation does not measure your actual Body fat percentage, but it is a useful tool to estimate a healthy body weight.

    Fat in the body is Essential. It will provide insulation, Energy and is used by the body in a Survival situation, when there is a food shortage.


  • This type is typically looked at as the “Bad Boy” of the Fat World. It is found on Meats, both fresh and processed (animal products) and Dairy Products. But a greater portion is found in today’s Diets of fast food, fried foods, processed foods, biscuits, cakes, chocolates, etc.

    Lean cuts of Meat and Low fat diary products are a better choice, as we need a good supply of Proteins and Iron, as well as Calcium. So you can’t cut Saturated Fats completely from your diet but you can control how much you consume.

  • In small quantities these are essential for the body to function and form hormone-type chemicals called “Prostaglandins”. These substances govern many biochemical reactions, including blood clotting and inflammatory reactions in the body tissues.

    Polyunsaturated falls into two categories, Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in Seafood (Fish and Shellfish). And Omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in Vegetable oils and some nuts, grains and seeds. Research has indicated that Omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial in;

  • Preventing Blood Clots.
  • Reducing the amount of triglycerides in the blood.
  • Help provide immunity to some diseases.
  • Help lower blood pressure.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids are normally found in vegetable oils and margarines. Don’t think that this is a licence to cook with or consume large quantities of these oils. As studies have also found that too much Omega-6 can impact on the benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids.

    To gain the most benefits of Polyunsaturated Fats we need to eat fewer amounts of oils and margarines and eat more fish. In this way you can keep the fat levels consumed low while gaining the most benefits.

  • These Fats occur mainly in Olive oil, Canola (rapeseed)oil, Peanut oil, Peanuts and Avocados. Research over the years has found that Monounsaturated fats can lower blood cholesterol levels as well as polyunsaturated fats but without reducing the beneficial HDL cholesterol.

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  • There is another consideration when discussing Fats and that is Cholesterol. This is a fatty, waxy substance that should not be considered undesirable or abnormal as it has an important role to play in making Vitamin D as well as some of the body’s hormones. Cholesterol is also found in nerve and brain tissue and is an essential part of the membrane that surrounds all body cells.

    The human body makes its own supply of cholesterol; in fact most of the cholesterol in the body does not come from consumed cholesterol in food but is made within the body. Problems arise when a person will make to much cholesterol and the excess can accumulate in the arteries, especially the coronary arteries.

    HDL and LDL Cholesterol.Since fat cannot dissolve in the blood, they attach themselves to a protein molecule to carry them around in the body. These combined protein-fat molecules are called lipoproteins and the two best known are HDL and LDL (high and low-density lipoproteins).

    HDL is the Good guy as it takes excess cholesterol from the arteries and takes it back to the liver so it can be excreted. It helps to prevent heart disease.

    LDL is the Bad guy as it contributes to fatty deposits in the arteries, which thicken the artery walls. This can lead to heart disease.

    Blood cholesterol levels are likely to rise if you consume too much Saturated Fat and they are unlikely to increase if you consume Seafood (that is as long as the seafood has not been battered and deep fried). So Grill fish (Not Fried) and Lean Meats. Boil, poach or scramble eggs, don’t fry them in oil and have a serve of fried bacon.

    Consume seafood regularly, as it contains very little saturated fat and cholesterol but contains beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids. Most people, if they eat a food containing cholesterol their body will compensate by not making its own and ensuring a balance. Unfortunately some people will continue to make cholesterol regardless of the amount eaten and should be wary of too much food containing cholesterol and especially cut back on their intake of saturated fats.

  • There is one more fat that needs to be mentioned and that is “Trans Fat”. The molecular structure of unsaturated fat is changed during a process called “Hydrogenation”. This procedure changes the fats melting point and makes it more favourable in baking and extending a products shelf life. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are not essential and should be avoided. They increase your risk of heart disease as they raise the amounts of LDL (Bad) cholesterol and lower the HDL (Good) cholesterol in the body.

    Always check the Food Labeling for the amount of Fat. It is not law in all Countries for a product to display the amounts of Trans Fats contained. But break down the amounts that you can read on the label and break down the total fat content and saturated fat content. Try and get an idea of the Total Fat make up in the product. Trans Fats should only be found in trace elements at best but I wouldn't recommend any at all.

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    In conclusion the message here is to restrict your intake of Saturated fats and when choosing Meats ensure that your choice is LEAN. When cooking boil, broil or grill, don’t fry,and use cooking oils sparingly and consider Olive oil as an alternative. Increase your intake of Fish and other seafood’s and prepare them the same, Grill don’t Deep Fry!

    You can control your Fat intake and therefore control your Health and Well-being. You have the ability to choose everyday, what is best for you.

    If you need guidance grab yourself some Low Fat Cookbooks and check out the recipes, have a piece of fruit as a snack. There are many things that you can do to enjoy what you eat and still be good for you.

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