Understanding dietary fats


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If you’re reading the labels on your food, you may notice various fat contents.

From saturated to trans fat, the labels and what they mean can get confusing.

It’s easy to read food labels but it isn’t always easy to understand them.
Shawn Costello has been an avid label reader for years.

“My youngest one used to be allergic to yellow dye and it took us awhile to figure that out when he was little and so we kind of got in the habit of looking for things with yellow dye,” Costello said.

Aside from the ingredients, labels also list the different types of fat.
While some may avoid fat, registered dietitian Lizzie Kasparek says fat is an important part of a healthy diet.

“It’s important for not only absorbing not only certain vitamins and minerals but also for just being satisfying. So meals that have fat tend to be more satisfying and they hold you over for longer,” Kasparek said.

She says there are four major dietary fats in food– each impacting your body differently.

“A lot of people will hear about healthy fats, or you should eat more healthy fats and get rid of those bad fats. So the healthy fats you’re referring to are those monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat,” Kasparek said.

She says you can find monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds and fish.

Fats to avoid or lower in your diet are saturated and trans fat, which are referred to as solid fats.

Saturated and trans fat have been linked to different health issues including increasing bad cholesterol and your risk for cardiovascular disease according to Mayo Clinic. Instead of eliminating fat completely, she suggests swapping the bad fats with healthy fats.

“Instead of always using butter you sometimes use avocado, like avocado toast. Instead of always eating red meat you sometimes swap it out for fish,” Kasparek said.

Which is exactly what Costello says she does when it comes to her family’s diet.

“Especially for my kids and trying to maintain a healthy diet and keep my husband and I healthy going into our 50’s as well,” Costello said.

If you’re interested in finding out what other foods contain healthy fats, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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