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The good and bad fats

June 18, 2014

I’ve read about ‘good’ fats and Bad’ fats, but does eating one make you fatter than the other?

Sarah Jenkins, from the British Nutrition Foundation, replies: No, all calories from fats are equal. One gram of fat provides approximately nine calories whether it is saturated fat, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated.

It’s how they are processed in the body that affects a person’s health – an excess of saturated fats can adversely affect blood cholesterol levels, increasing the LDL, ‘bad cholesterol’, fraction.

High levels of LDL in the blood promote the accumulation of fat in the walls of the vessels of the heart and this fat can become oxidised leading to the formation of a plaque causing the vessels to fur up. HDL or good cholesterol retrieves cholesterol from body tissues helping to transfer it to the liver for disposal.

A good intake of the unsaturated fats (monos and polys) can help decrease LDL cholesterol levels and maintain or increase HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.