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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is better the mono or the poly unsaturated fat?

    Can I eat too much of the good fats? What will happen to my cholesterol?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

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    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Both types of unsaturated fat-monounsaturated and polyunsaturated  can offer important health benefits. We know from studies involving the Mediterranean diet where intake of olive oil is especially high  that monounsaturates can be heart protective. (Olive oil has the highest level of monounsaturated fat of any commonly used oil.) With polyunsaturates, there is also evidence of decreased risk of chronic disease, but only when the diet is also relatively high quality and accompanied by healthy intake of antioxidant nutrients.
    Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are generally found in plants and are touted as healthy fats, unlike trans fats, saturated fats and cholesterol. The Heart Foundation encourage people to switch to foods based on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from those that contain saturated and trans fats, which are generally processed fats or come from animal-based fat sources such as butter or meat products. Food often contains a combination of different types of fats.
    Monounsaturated fats are made up of a chain of carbon with one pair of carbon molecules joined by a double bond. The more double bonds there are, the more solid the fat will be. Monounsaturated fats are generally liquid at room temperature, but turn slightly solid when chilled.
    Polyunsaturated fats have two or more double bonds between carbon atoms in the carbon chain backbone of the fat. They are more solid than monounsaturated fats but less so than saturated fats. This makes polyunsaturated fats also liquid at room temperature. Some polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which the body cannot produce, and therefore these fats must be acquired through diet.

    Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are found in many vegetable oils, including safflower, corn, sunflower, soy and cottonseed oils, as well as in nuts and seeds. The omega-3 fatty acids can be found in flaxseeds, walnuts and some fatty fish, such as salmon and herring.
    Both monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats have distinct health benefits. There is evidence that both types of fats reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the blood when included in a diet low in saturated and trans fats. This helps lower risk of coronary artery disease and stroke. Monounsaturated fats have the added benefit of being high in Vitamin E and in helping to maintain or develop cells in the body. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are also vital to brain development and the body's growth. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help lower blood pressure and stave off irregular heartbeats.
    While they have shown health benefits, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are still fats and should not be consumed overabundance. Like all fats, they have 9 calories per gram. No evidence has shown one to be better over the other for health. Fats overall, including these two types, should make up less than 25 percent to 35 percent total daily calorie intake,



     
     

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    Harry Jamieson

    Nutritionist

    Simple and relaxed nutrition consultations aimed at improving your health. Focus on general wellbeing or more specific areas such as: weight loss, cholesterol, feeding children, … View Profile

    They are both quite good for you in different aspects. It really depends on your current intake of them though, as to which one would benefit you more.

    Poly-unsaturated fats are the essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and 6.
    They are the only fats that we actually need through food, since we are unable to synthesize the omega. It is important to know the ratio between Omega 6 and 3. A lot of research has shown lower rates of disease when this happens. Most people get a lot of Omega 6, and not much Omega 3. Out of the poly-unsaturated fat the Omega 3 is more important. That does not mean that Omega 6 is bad. It just means that you need a better balance of the two.

    With the mono-unsaturated fats though, although they are not essential, they are quite good for you especially in regards to cholesterol health. So these are olive oil and avocado and these contrast from the saturated fats and trans-fats in that we do not need them, they do not benefit us and they actually have a lot of negative impacts.

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    Essential fatty acids ( Omega 3 and Omega 6) are found in both mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids which are found in seed and plant oils. Both these oils are healthy for you. Omega 3 can also be found in fish.

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