Few people with diabetes realize there are good fats and bad fats. Consuming too many bad fats and avoiding good ones can be dangerous to your health. Knowing the right fats makes it easier to choose healthy food options you enjoy.

Which Fats Are Good or Bad?

Certain fats actually have health benefits. Unsaturated fats lower your risk of developing heart diseases and are referred to as “good fats.” Included in unsaturated fats are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fats. Monounsaturated fats can even benefit blood sugar control and insulin levels – a benefit for type 2 diabetes. Polyunsaturated fats are seen in plant sources for food. Omega-3 fats include fatty cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring as well as flaxseeds and walnuts. “Bad fats” are trans fats and saturated fats which boost your risk of heart disease.

Knowing the difference between good fats and bad fats help you add a variety of flavors to your daily diet without increasing your risk of developing heart problems. Even good fats are high in calories so be conscious of portion sizes to avoid a growing waistline and related health issues.

Which Foods Have Good Fats?

Proper meal planning includes choosing fats that are good for you. Defining foods with good fats means expanding your menu to include your favorite fats without compromising your health.

Feast on greens and add good fats that are found in certain salad dressings. Monounsaturated fat is included in olives, olive oil, avocadoes, nuts and seeds. Polyunsaturated oils include safflower corn, sunflower peanut and soy. Include spreads on your favorite foods in moderation including tub margarine, margarine with plant sterols or plant stanols.

Tasty fatty foods to add to your diet include olives, avocados and seeds such as sesame, pumpkin and flax. Nibble on nuts including Brazil, peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts and macadamias.

Which Foods Have Bad Fats?

BAD FATS are considered saturated fats that come from animal products. Now that you know the yummy good fats to add to your plate, take note of the bad fats people with diabetes and heart problems should avoid. These foods contain trans fats and saturated fats that increase your risk of stroke and heart disease.

Oils to avoid include palm oil, coconut oil, shortening and lard. Steer clear of spreads such as regular cream cheese, butter and regular margarine. Limit fatty foods such as cream, chitterlings, sausage or bacon. One way to minimize your consumption of bad fats is to look for reduced or fat-free foods. According to the American Diabetes Association, less than 7 percent of your daily calories should be from saturated fats. Your total fat intake should be between 20-35% of your daily calories.

The other “bad fats” are trans fats and should be avoided as they can raise your LDL or bad cholesterol levels and lower your HDL or healthy cholesterol. Select foods with 0 grams of trans fats. Often trans fats are found in processed packaged foods such as cookies, crackers, candies, cakes and French fries. Avoid foods that have “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list.

A recent study conducted by Thomas Halton, PhD, at the Harvard School of Public Health revealed good fats have positive effects on lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study encourages eating lean meat such as chicken breast and fish over fatty choices such as bacon, hot dogs, cold cuts and chicken skin. Meat should contain the word “loin” such as sirloin or pork loin. Remember, when eating fats, moderation is always considered the key ingredient.

ADW Diabetes

ADW Diabetes is a diabetic supply mail order company that is dedicated to keeping diabetes management affordable. ADW takes a leading role in offering free diabetic education through Destination Diabetes, an informational component of the ADW website featuring tips and advice from diabetes and nutrition experts, diabetic recipes and more.