Better U, Better U Challenge

Heart Health and a Gruesome Visual on Bad Fats

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Busy is my new middle name. I love being busy. It keeps me out of trouble…most of the time. But a  side effect to “busy” is that we get so caught up in the headlong rush, we forget to take care of home base.

Like this blog.

Like exercise.

I have a 3 month membership to this awesome place called InMotion Physical Therapy and I seriously need to quit making excuses and be consistent about going. My heart depends on it.

Speaking of heart (as in “heart health”) I was able to be apart of a pretty cool class this last week taught by Essentia Health’s Dietitian Teresa Farrell, RD, LD. I am fairly certain, by the time you are in your 40’s, you’ve heard most of the “low fat” arguments and lectures. But Teresa’s class really opened my eyes to the difference between Saturated Fats, Trans Fats, Monounsaturated Fat, and Polyunsaturated Fats.

I will give you the speed readers definition:

Saturated Fats: BAD STUFF. This is the crap that is “solid at room temperature” like butter, or “suspended in liquid” like whole milk. Not good. Please avoid

Trans Fats: Really icky stuff. Avoid at all costs. Comes in the form of partially hydrogenated oils. Clogs your arteries and goes right to your thighs. SERIOUSLY.

Monounsaturated Fat: Good fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocados, almond oil.

Polyunsaturated Fats: Omega 3 Fatty Acids like salmon or fish oil supplements. Good stuff. Decreases triglycerides. Unsaturated fats are also heart-healthy fats – they have the ability to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol).

**There’s a waaayyy better definition

These bad fats lurk in places your wouldn’t think either. Check out these visuals:

This is how much bad fat is found in ONE Fast Food Cheeseburger! ONE!

A huge source of saturated fats is in animal products. Look at the difference between ground beef and fish. Good thing we live in The Land of 10,000 Lakes:

Making better choices could make a huge difference as well. Look at the difference in fat content on regular ol potato chips and Baked Lays. Is that eye-opening or what?

I used to think butter was better than margarine. One tablespoon butter has 100 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat (36% of your daily allowance). Margarine has 50 calories and 1.5 grams of saturated fats. Not all margarine’s are free of Trans Fats, but Country Crock and some of the margarine sprays like Parkay Margarine Spray fall into the “much better for your heart” category.

The bottom line? Read labels!! The FDA has set standards for health-related claims on food labels to help consumers identify foods that are rich in nutrients, and ones that contain the “bad stuff” like Trans Fats, and tons of Sodium. Eating less fats, cholesterol and sodium may help reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.
Some good resources for food labels and nutrition are:

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About Becky Flansburg

Becky Flansburg is freelance writer, blogger and virtual assistant living in Northern Minnesota. A dedicated mom to two beautiful kids, her veteran blog is filled with laughter and love about the joys parenthood. Becky is also committed to helping women realize their work-from-home dreams, enjoy life beyond the cubicle and find clarity in the work/life/family balance. Connect with Becky via her website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest