Health and Wellness: Including good fats in your meals

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department

Yes, there is such a thing as good fat. We need some fat in our daily food intake, which according to the American Heart Association, provides energy, supports cell growth, protects organs and helps regulate body temperature. The website www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/dietary-fats includes infographics and videos on liquid oils, solid fats and the often-hidden trans fats so common in baked goods. Trans fat is liquid oil transformed into solid during processing.

The four types of fats are saturated, trans, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Avoid saturated and trans fats, which are generally solid at room temperature (shortening is an example.) These unhealthy fats are found in meat, milk products and palm and coconut oils.

Better choices are mono and poly-unsaturated fats, that are usually liquid at room temperature, such as vegetable oil. A comparison of cooking oils, including which have healthier properties was recently featured in the Seasons magazine published by Hy-Vee. You may view the information at https://a9effd958e0dc59aaf3b-80520a33cc33a15351bd958c9b8ecc55.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/Seasons_Jan2021_Web.pdf

Choosing a polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oil does not mean it’s okay to use unlimited amounts. For good health it is important to use less of all types of fats and oils. Always check with your doctor when making significant changes in your diet.