Updated: May 15, 2019
We discussed a brief overview of the Mediterranean Diet last week…if you missed it check it out here. This week we will look more into fats that are found in the Mediterranean Diet. You may have heard of fats being referred to as “bad fats” and “good fats”. Bad fats are considered to be saturated fats and trans fats because excessive intakes of these fats have been linked with an increased risk of heart disease. The jury is still out on saturated fat and dietary cholesterol and its link with heart disease, but until we know more it may be best to moderate intake of foods high in saturated fat. Saturated fats are found in animal-based foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and meat. Lower fat versions of dairy and lean protein options are available to help lower saturated fat intake. Trans fats are a mostly man-made fat that is found in a lot of processed foods. Companies are working towards removing trans fats from their products. This will take some time because trans fats are often used to alter the consistencies of foods and/or increase shelf-life, so alternative ingredients will have to be determined to perform the same effects before trans fats can be completely removed.
Good fats are considered to be monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. These fats are found in plant-based foods such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and seeds. Some polyunsaturated fats can be found in fish. While fat intake is moderated in the Mediterranean Diet, a majority of the fat in this diet comes from monounsaturated fat and the polyunsaturated fat, omega-3. Omega-3 fats have long been linked with decreased heart disease risk and may even be linked with decreased risk of dementia.
You cannot decrease your risk of heart disease or improve your overall health with diet alone. It is important to remember to incorporate at least 15 minutes of physical activity into your day each day.