NxJ’er asks: Why is avocado considered a ‘healthy fat’?

“Why is avocado considered a ‘healthy fat’?” and “what are the differences among dietary fat types?”

At 30 grams of fat, an entire avocado fruit has just as many fat grams as a McDonald’s Big Mac.  But while the Big Mac’s fat comes directly from saturated and trans fat, avocados are loaded with the healthier poly- and mono-unsaturated fats.  The type of fat in an avocado is therefore its discerning characteristic.

Looking at fats more closely

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, there are health differences among the dietary fats.  What makes avocado fats healthier is its high unsaturated fat content.  This type of fat lowers blood cholesterol (if eaten in place of saturated fats).  The two types of fats under the unsaturated fat umbrella are mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.  These types of fats help maintain elasticity of the blood vessels and keep hair, skin and nails strong.  Olives, nuts, seeds, and fish are good sources.

A Big Mac has mostly saturated fat and trans-fat, both of which raise cholesterol.  Saturated fats raise both the good and the bad cholesterol.  Saturated fats are okay to consume, but it should be limited to 10% of your total daily calories.  Usually, you will find saturated fats in animal products (fatty meats, marbled meats, butters, cheeses, whole milk products, half and half, ice cream, and cream).  Additionally, you can find them in vegetable oils, such as coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils.

Trans-fat forms when vegetable oil hardens (hydrogenation), and it is a fat that raises bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body AND lowers the good (HDL).  This is the WORST type of fat you could possibly consume, found mostly in fried foods, baked goods and processed foods.

Tomorrow I will provide a post describing trans-fat in more detail, stay tuned ♫


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