Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated Fats

The discussion of fats and which ones are better for us has been ongoing for more than twenty years. Most of us have heard that we should limit the amount of saturated fats in our diet and include more of the unsaturated variety.

It's about hydrogen

You probably know that the designation of fats as “unsaturated” refers to the hydrogen capacity and whether a fat has reached its limit. In other words, saturated fats are literally “saturated” with hydrogen, while unsaturated fats have room for more.

Saturated fats are easy to identify since they are solid at room temperature. They are very stable, more difficult to digest and may collect in our arteries, but they don’t get rancid as easily and add taste and satiety to our foods. Health experts are divided on whether high consumption of saturated fats leads to an increased risk of heart disease and some cancers.

Two categories of unsaturated fats

The other category of fats, unsaturated fats, are divided into two groups—monounsaturated, (popularly called "MUFAS), and polyunsaturated, based on the extent to which the fat has reached its hydrogen capacity.

Recently, everyone from health experts to diet gurus have encouraged us to include more MUFAS in our diets, since these fats tend to be more stable and less likely to become rancid like their polyunsaturated cousins, without some of the disadvantages of saturated fats.


Here is a list of foods that are the best sources of MUFAS, because they have a high MUFA content, while at the same time a minimal amount of saturated fat.

Click here for a printable copy of this list.

The Best Sources of Monounsaturated Fats

-Olive Oil

-Canola Oil

-Grape Seed Oil

-Avocados

-Almonds

-Macadamia Nuts

-Cashews

-Pecans

-Dry roasted peanuts

-Sesame Seeds



Low-fat diets

I hope you will resist the lure of diets that are too low in fat and instead, pursue a "good-fat" diet. Your body needs healthy fats, in moderation, to function properly.

High fat diets

Conversely, diets that are high in fat--particularly saturated fat which can lead to adverse health issues--should be avoided also.  These include many of the "low-carb" programs that place an emphasis on avoiding carbohydrate foods--even good carbs--in favor of fat and protein.  

Any diet that does not encourage a balance of all the nutrients should be looked at with skepticism even if it results in weight loss!


Click here to go from Monounsaturated Fats page to Healthy Eating Fats page.


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