GOOD FATS AND AVOCADOS

You might shy away from the word ‘fat’ if you are aiming to eat a more healthy diet. However, the body does need some dietary fat to help with the absorption of nutrients and to provide and store energy. There is a difference between ‘bad’ fats – which are not good for you – and ‘good’ fats, which your body needs. Want to know how you can consume more of these good fats? Interested in eating a delicious fruit that contains these good fats – and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals as well? Then eat more avocados!

The Good Fat
in Avocados

One-third of a medium avocado, which is a 50g serving, contains 6g of naturally good fat. This 6g of good fat is made up of 5g of monounsaturated fat and 1g of polyunsaturated fat. Here’s what monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat can do for you:

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats or "good fats" can help improve intake of dietary fat without raising LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association and The Dietary Guideline for Americans recommend replacing bad fats with these good fats. They say that replacing your intake of saturated fat, with unsaturated fat is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease events.

Here's some other reasons why you need to eat fat as part of a healthy, balanced diet:

  • Dietary fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are fat soluble which means they can only be absorbed by the body with the help of fats.
  • Fats give us essential fatty acids which we need for brain development. Our body cannot make some of these fatty acids itself and we must get them through foods we eat.

Eating Avocados as Part
of a Balanced Diet

When it comes to eating fat, remember that the body needs some fat to function but you should consume it in moderation. Aim to replace those bad fats with good fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

While many factors affect heart disease, eating fruits and vegetables, such as avocados, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. Since avocados are heart-healthy fruits and virtually the only fruit with monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, try to consume more as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Healthy avocados can act as a nutrient booster as they help the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, K and E. They have 80 calories per 50g serving of a medium avocado and the fiber they contain will even help keep hunger at bay. Avocados have 11 percent of your daily value per serving. Try incorporating avocados in your diet by making a delicious guacamole, dicing it in a salad, in a sandwich or blended in a smoothie. Take a look at our recipes to find out more.

Common Questions about
Avocados & Good Fats:

1 What are the good fats?

Unsaturated fats are good fats, versus saturated fats and trans fats, which are also known as bad fats. Both monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, which are types of unsaturated fats, are considered good fats.

Good fats in your diet can still satisfy your taste buds. In fact, dietary guidelines for Americans recommend substituting good fats for bad fats to reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease (coronary artery blockages, heart attack, stroke, and blood clots). Avocados are a great way to help shift from bad saturated fats to good unsaturated fats in your diet.

2 How much fat is in a serving of avocado?

One-third of a medium avocado of 80 grams contributes 8 grams of total fat with 1g polyunsaturated and 5g monounsaturated fats.

3 What kind of fat is in an avocado?

Avocados contribute both saturated and unsaturated fat, however more than 75% of the fat in an avocado is good fat, or unsaturated fat. The unsaturated fat in an avocado is made up of monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, both types of good fat. If you are looking for ways to incorporate more good fats, avocados can be a great addition to your diet.

4 Is saturated fat good?

No, saturated fat is not considered a good fat. Diets high in saturated fat are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is a cause of heart attack and stroke.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend replacing saturated fat in the diet with unsaturated fat to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. You can do this by eating foods like avocados that contribute good fats and still satisfy your tongue's desire for something creamy and rich tasting.

5 What are trans fats?

Trans fats are a third kind of dietary fat, in addition to saturated and unsaturated fats, discussed above. Trans fats occur naturally in small amounts in some food products derived from animals, like milk, butter, cheese, and meat.

Trans fats are also formed during some food manufacturing processes, when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. This makes the liquid fat into a solid form, in what is known as hydrogenation. You may see trans fats listed as "partially hydrogenated oil" or "PHO" on food labels.

As you can imagine, solid fat can be more convenient for commercial food storage and transport. But that convenience comes at a price because trans fats elevate the level of LDL or bad cholesterol in your blood. High LDL cholesterol levels are linked to the development of heart disease. According to the CDC, heart disease remains the number one cause of death in American men and women.

6 What is monounsaturated fat?

Monounsaturated fat is one type of unsaturated fat. Technically, it is defined as a fat molecule that has one unsaturated carbon bond, also known as a double bond.

Unsaturated fats are good fats that can be included in your diet in reasonable amounts. Monounsaturated fat is found in avocados, as well as in olive oil and many nuts and seeds.

7 What foods are fats found in?

Fats are found in many different types of foods, but all fats are not the same. It is the specific types of fat that determines whether or not it is healthy. A moderate amount of good fat in your diet can be beneficial for your body. However, eating too much bad fat can put you at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, like heart attack and stroke.

Good fats are found in foods like avocados, salmon and some fish, many nuts and seeds, and some oils like olive, sesame, grapeseed, and sunflower.

Saturated or bad fats are best eaten in very limited quantities. Saturated fats can be found primarily in animal products, such as animal fat, lamb, pork, butter cheese, and whole-fat milk products. Some baked goods and fried foods can also contain saturated fats, as can palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil.

Trans fats, which are the least healthy of all fats, are found mostly in foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils, commonly abbreviated PHO, as a result of how these foods were manufactured. You can find "partially hydrogenated oil" or "PHO" listed on the label for foods that contain trans fats, but trans fats may also be present in baked goods and fried foods that come without nutritional labels.

Both saturated and trans fats can raise your LDL or bad cholesterol. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends shifting to reduce saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of calories per day.

8 What do good fats do for your body?

Good fats help to absorb nutrients from foods that are eaten with them. Some good fats, like polyunsaturated also contribute Vitamin E, an antioxidant that further helps develop and maintain your body's cells. Good fats can also substitute for bad fats in your diet, thereby allowing you to shift to unsaturated fat sources that benefit your body, especially your cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend switching from bad (saturated) fats to good (unsaturated fats) as your primary fat source in your food.

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