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Fat and Cholesterol

The words cholesterol and fat both have a negative connotation. But not everything you eat with cholesterol and fat are bad for you. You just have to know how they go hand in hand, the difference the “good” and the “bad”; their sources and what to avoid.

Fat are nutrients that are important for the body’s growth and development. They can become a source of energy they aid other nutrients in performing their tasks in the body.

We get four types of fat from the food we eat: trans fat are the fat that have been processed outside the body.  We find trans fat in margarine and shortening and mostly processed foods; saturated fat are from animal products such as meat and dairy; the monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat are those found from plant sources such in olive, canola, peanut, corn, and sunflower oils. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, are polyunsaturated fat naturally found in cold-water fish such as herring, salmon, and mackerel.

Cholesterol, are natural-occurring waxy compounds in the body that help in the building and protection of its cell membranes. There are two types of cholesterol carriers in the blood – the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which takes cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body and the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which takes the cholesterol from the body tissues back to the liver.

The type of fat you take affects your body’s cholesterol levels. Trans fat have become so widely used because it lasts longer than other fats and give food a nice flavor, but trans fat is type of fat that increases the LDLs and lower HDLs, which puts one at risk for heart disease. Trans fat can be found in heavily fried foods such as french fries, doughnuts, processed foods and some commercial baked goods such as pies and pastries.

Saturated fat, found in animal meat products and dairy products (milk and cheese), and in some processed foods increases the risk for cardiovascular conditions if you consume too much of it, as it can raise cholesterol levels in the blood.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat are mostly from plants sources like sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and sesame oil. They can lower the bloods’ cholesterol level and consumption of such fats can reduce the risk of heart diseases.

So, when you hear fat and cholesterol, don’t fret. To make wise, healthy decisions, you need to know how they affect each other and how their presence in the body can affect your health.