It’s Time: Eat More Healthily Now
For some people, it is not really about needing to lose a great deal of weight, but just a desire to stabilize their weight, or simply eat healthier. For others still yet, there may be some longer term weight loss goals, and even more may just want to lose a few of those holiday pounds. Whichever the case may be here are some great ways to help you get on track and have a much healthier way of eating. Understanding fats is probably one of the best places to start in any weight loss or nutrition plan, and is your first step towards understanding what to change and why.
Identifying your fats is a great first step. Did you know that there are many different kinds of fats, and that your body uses them all in different ways? For instance saturated fat is mostly animal based fat- fat from food found in animals. The biggest sources of saturated fats are beef, cheese and milk. Transfat is where it gets a bit tricky because it is a mostly man made fat. This is where hydrogen is added to vegetable oil- and this is supposed to increase the shelf life and enhance flavor. This is usually things like margarines, shortenings, crackers, cookies and other snacks. Then, there is cholesterol- and almost everyone’s heard about cholesterol. The basic low down on this fat is that it is a fat like substance. It’s actually a steroid- a soft, waxy substance, lurking in your lipids. It actually performs a vital role in your body.
Now basically, the key is in keeping those all balanced- but this is where diet throws in another fun couple of terms: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Understand that though “fat” has become a word that people use in a derogatory light- your body needs it. In fact, your body needs about thirty percent of all the calories you take in, to be from fat. It does many really good things, least of which not being enabling your body to process vitamins like A, D, E, and K- these are all fat soluble vitamins.
Polyunsaturated fats are generally found in plant sources- things like sunflower, corn and soybeans. One of the big benefits of this fat is that it can in fact lower blood cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated Fat, this usually comes from both plant and animal sources and it directly targets the “bad cholesterol”. Then you go back to saturated fat, and this should be the very lowest amount of fat you take in.
Finally, that elusive difference between “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Low-density protein, or LDL- this is the bad guy. High-density protein, or HDL, is good. To simplify this a bit, LDL has a tendency towards being what builds up quickly and causes problems, and HDL actually is beneficial in preventing heart related problems. So, if you feel a bit confused about which cholesterols are good, and which are bad and why, now you know.
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