What the hell are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats; why are avocados deemed ‘healthy’ but an ice-cream sundae not?
Firstly, no foods are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they are all wonderful and everything has nutritional value, even that ice cream sundae!
I’m sure you’ve all heard about cholesterol and it’s link with heart disease. Well, there are 2 types of cholesterol, LDL (kinda bad) and HDL (kinda good guy).
Saturated and transaturated fats (think cream, pastries and deep fried foods) increase levels of LDL which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Basically, if you want to try reduce your blood levels of LDL cholesterol, and alongside many other risk factors, small dietary changes can help you with this. This is what the headlines about ’lowering your blood cholesterol’ are shouting about.
3 simple dietary changes could reduce blood LDL levels by 30%:
- Reducing dietary trans & saturated fats and increasing unsaturated fats: think avocado, seeds, nuts, vegetable oils, fish.
- Increase phytosterols: These plant derived chemicals have a similar chemical structure to cholesterol and can therefore reduce LDL absorption in the gut. They are found in the majority of diets, but specifically plant based foods and fortified dairy products
- Increase dietary fibre: Think whole grains, veg & legumes
But, heart disease is a complex condition, and a huge number of other factors play a role. These range from exercise levels, to smoking, to genetic disposition; although dietary intervention helps, it isn’t the saving grace!