Avocados & Salmon Does Eating Too Much Good Fat Hurt My Cholesterol Levels?

  • Cardiology
  • Heart Health - Lifestyle
  • May 12, 2023

Too much good fat can lead to inflammation and weight gain, which can negatively affect a person's cholesterol levels.

Good Fat And Your Cholesterol Score

For many years, fat had a negative stigma, leading many to buy low-fat foods. People lowered the consumption of bad fats, but the trend also caused many to eat insufficient healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Foods like avocado and salmon are important sources of good fat. Contrary to popular belief, overeating certain healthy foods can increase cholesterol levels and have other adverse health outcomes.

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What are unsaturated fats?

When eaten in moderation in place of trans and saturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can improve blood cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Unsaturated fats are primarily found in plant-based foods, such as seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils. Avocado is high in monounsaturated fats, while many fish are high in polyunsaturated fats.

Cholesterol and saturated fats

The body requires blood cholesterol, a fat and waxy substance, to build cell membranes, create hormones, and perform many other functions. In the blood, cholesterol is carried as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) through the body. Overconsumption of saturated fats can raise bad LDL cholesterol in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Good cholesterol, however, is capable of removing excess cholesterol throughout the body.

The right amount of fat

For good health, people need to eat unsaturated and saturated fats in the correct quantity and ratio. Too much of a good thing can be harmful. Dietary fats are significantly higher in calories per gram than carbohydrates and proteins, especially when paired with processed carbohydrates and sugars. Eating too many fats can increase inflammation, which can lower good cholesterol and raise bad cholesterol.

A good balance

Most foods contain a combination of good and bad fats, although foods like salmon and avocado contain higher levels of good fats. Polyunsaturated omega-3 fats relieve inflammation, while omega-6 fats, found in seeds and nuts, can release harmful free radicals. The ideal ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s should be 2 to 4. Most Americans, however, eat 10 times more omega-6 fats than omega-3s.

How much fat should you eat?

People should get no more than 10% of total daily calories from saturated fat. For a 2,000-calorie diet, the total fat consumed should be about 200 calories or 22g daily. Total fat consumption, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, should be less than 25-30% of the daily calories.

Reading labels is crucial

People should keep a close eye on nutrition facts on products to improve cholesterol levels. To reduce cholesterol, look for foods low in total, saturated, and trans fat. Labels that say no trans fat may contain less than 0.5g of trans fat, which can add up over time. Keeping track of the nutrition facts in food can be an effective way to control cholesterol.

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