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On this line of thought, if we kill a non-self-conscious being that was living a good life, then we have lessened the overall amount of good in the world. John Alexander has proposed a capability theory based on a Republican understanding of the importance of freedom as non-domination Alexander As a result, humans are a cosmopolitan species found in almost all regions of the world, including tropical rainforests , arid desert , extremely cold arctic regions , and heavily polluted cities. Move to conference room and yawn your way through an hour-long meeting. Early human settlements were dependent on proximity to water and, depending on the lifestyle, other natural resources, such as fertile land for growing crops and grazing livestock , or populations of prey for hunting. Humans share with other primates the characteristics of opposing thumbs, omnivorous diet, five fingers pentadactyl with fingernails, and binocular, color vision.

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The defense of premise 1 usually goes something like this. If being rational or autonomous, or able to speak is what permits us to deny direct moral status to animals, then we can likewise deny that status to any human that is not rational or autonomous, able to speak, etc. This line of reasoning works for almost every property that has been thought to warrant our denying direct moral status to animals.

Since the marginal cases are beings whose abilities are equal to, if not less than, the abilities of animals, any reason to keep animals out of the class of beings with direct moral status will keep the marginal cases out as well. There is one property that is immune to this line of argument, namely, the property of being human.

However, if someone does so they must give up the claim that human beings are above animals due to the fact that human beings are more intelligent or rational than animals. It must be claimed instead that being human is, in itself, a morally relevant property. Few in recent times are willing to make that kind of a claim.

Another way to escape this line of argument is to deny the second premise Cf. Frey, ; Francis and Norman, This may be done in a series of steps. First, it may be noted that there are very few human beings that are truly marginal.

For example, infants, although not currently rational, have the potential to become rational. Perhaps they should not be counted as marginal for that reason. Likewise, the senile may have a direct moral status due to the desires they had when they were younger and rational.

Once the actual number of marginal cases is appreciated, it is then claimed that it is not counter-intuitive to conclude that the remaining individuals do not have a direct moral status after all.

Once again, however, few are willing to accept that conclusion. The fact that a severely cognitively disabled infant can feel pain seems to most to be a reason to refrain from harming the infant. Another argument against indirect theories begins with the intuition that there are some things that simply cannot be done to animals. For example, I am not permitted to torture my own cat for fun, even if no one else finds out about it.

This intuition is one that any acceptable moral theory must be able to accommodate. The argument against indirect theories is that they cannot accommodate this intuition in a satisfying way. Both Kant and Carruthers agree that my torturing my own cat for fun would be wrong. However, they believe it is wrong not because of the harm to the cat, but rather because of the effect this act will have on me.

Many people have found this to be a very unsatisfying account of the duty. If it is, in itself, perfectly all right to do anything at all to animals for any reason whatsoever, then provided a person realizes the clear line between animals and persons and keeps it in mind as he acts, why should killing animals brutalize him and make him more likely to harm or kill persons Nozick, In other words, unless it is wrong in itself to harm the animal, it is hard to see why such an act would lead people to do other acts that are likewise wrong.

If the indirect theorist does not have a better explanation for why it is wrong to torture a cat for fun, and as long as we firmly believe such actions are wrong, then we will be forced to admit that indirect theories are not acceptable. Indirect theorists can, and have, responded to this line of argument in three ways.

First, they could reject the claim that the indirect theorist's explanation of the duty is unsatisfactory. Second, they could offer an alternative explanation for why such actions as torturing a cat are wrong.

Third, they could reject the claim that those sorts of acts are necessarily wrong. Most people accept an account of the proper moral status of animals according to which the interests of animals count directly in the assessment of actions that affect them, but do not count for as much as the interests of human beings. Their defense requires two parts: The argument in support of the claim that animals have direct moral status is rather simple.

It goes as follows:. Examples of positively valenced episodes of awareness are pleasure, joy, elation, and contentment. Examples of negatively valenced episodes of awareness are pain, suffering, depression, and anxiety. In support of premise 1 , many argue that pain and pleasure are directly morally relevant, and that there is no reason to discount completely the pleasure or pain of any being.

The argument from analogy is often used in support of premise 2 see the discussion of this argument in section I, part C above.

The argument from analogy is also used in answering the difficult question of exactly which animals are sentient. The general idea is that the justification for attributing sentience to a being grows stronger the more analogous it is to human beings.

People also commonly use the flaws of indirect theories as a reason to support the claim that animals have direct moral status. Those that believe both that the marginal cases have direct moral status and that indirect theories cannot answer the challenge of the Argument from Marginal Cases are led to support direct theories; those that believe both that such actions as the torture of one's own cat for fun are wrong and that indirect theories cannot explain why they are wrong are also led to direct theories.

The usual manner of justifying the claim that animals are not equal to human beings is to point out that only humans have some property, and then argue that that property is what confers a full and equal moral status to human beings. Some philosophers have used the following claims on this strategy: On one common understanding of rights, only human beings have rights.

On this conception of rights, if a being has a right then others have a duty to refrain from infringing that right; rights entail duties. An individual that has a right to something must be able to claim that thing for himself, where this entails being able to represent himself in his pursuit of the thing as a being that is legitimately pursuing the furtherance of his interests Cf. Since animals are not capable of representing themselves in this way, they cannot have rights.

However, lacking rights does not entail lacking direct moral status; although rights entail duties it does not follow that duties entail rights. So although animals may have no rights, we may still have duties to them. The significance of having a right, however, is that rights act as "trumps" against the pursuit of utility. In other words, if an individual has a right to something, we are not permitted to infringe on that right simply because doing so will have better overall results.

Our duties to those without rights can be trumped by considerations of the overall good. Although I have a duty to refrain from destroying your property, that duty can be trumped if I must destroy the property in order to save a life.

Likewise, I am not permitted to harm animals without good reason; however, if greater overall results will come about from such harm, then it is justified to harm animals. This sort of reasoning has been used to justify such practices as experimentation that uses animals, raising animals for food, and using animals for our entertainment in such places as rodeos and zoos.

There are two points of contention with the above account of rights. First, it has been claimed that if human beings have rights, then animals will likewise have rights. For example, Joel Feinberg has argued that all is required in order for a being to have a right is that the being be capable of being represented as legitimately pursuing the furtherance of its interests Feinberg, The claim that the being must be able to represent itself is too strong, thinks Feinberg, for such a requirement will exclude infants, the senile, and other marginal cases from the class of beings with rights.

In other words, Feinberg invokes yet another instance of the Argument from Marginal Cases in order to support his position. Second, it has been claimed that the very idea of rights needs to be jettisoned. There are two reasons for this. First, philosophers such as R. Frey have questioned the legitimacy of the very idea of rights, echoing Bentham's famous claim that rights are "nonsense on stilts" Frey, Second, philosophers have argued that whether or not a being will have rights will depend essentially on whether or not it has some other lower-order property.

For example, on the above conception of rights, whether a being will have a right or not will depend on whether it is able to represent itself as a being that is legitimately pursuing the furtherance of its interests. If that is what grounds rights, then what is needed is a discussion of the moral importance of that ability, along with a defense of the claim that it is an ability that animals lack.

More generally, it has been argued that if we wish to deny animals rights and claim that only human beings have them, then we must focus not so much on rights, but rather on what grounds them.

For this reason, much of the recent literature concerning animals and ethics focuses not so much on rights, but rather on whether or not animals have certain other properties, and whether the possession of those properties is a necessary condition for equal consideration Cf. Some people argue that only rational, autonomous, and self-conscious beings deserve full and equal moral status; since only human beings are rational, autonomous, and self-conscious, it follows that only human beings deserve full and equal moral status.

Once again, it is not claimed that we can do whatever we like to animals; rather, the fact that animals are sentient gives us reason to avoid causing them unnecessary pain and suffering. However, when the interests of animals and human beings conflict we are required to give greater weight to the interests of human beings.

This also has been used to justify such practices as experimentation on animals, raising animals for food, and using animals in such places as zoos and rodeos. The attributes of rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness confer a full and equal moral status to those that possess them because these beings are the only ones capable of attaining certain values and goods; these values and goods are of a kind that outweigh the kinds of values and goods that non-rational, non-autonomous, and non-self-conscious beings are capable of attaining.

For example, in order to achieve the kind of dignity and self-respect that human beings have, a being must be able to conceive of itself as one among many, and must be able to choose his actions rather than be led by blind instinct Cf. Francis and Norman, ; Steinbock, Furthermore, the values of appreciating art, literature, and the goods that come with deep personal relationships all require one to be rational, autonomous, and self-conscious.

These values, and others like them, are the highest values to us; they are what make our lives worth living. As John Stuart Mill wrote, "Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast's pleasures" Mill, We find the lives of beings that can experience these goods to be more valuable, and hence deserving of more protection, than the lives of beings that cannot.

Another reason for giving stronger preference to the interests of human beings is that only human beings can act morally. This is considered to be important because beings that can act morally are required to sacrifice their interests for the sake of others. It follows that those that do sacrifice their good for the sake of others are owed greater concern from those that benefit from such sacrifices.

Since animals cannot act morally, they will not sacrifice their own good for the sake of others, but will rather pursue their good even at the expense of others.

That is why human beings should give the interests of other human beings greater weight than they do the interests of animals. Finally, some claim that membership in the moral community is necessary for full and equal moral status. The moral community is not defined in terms of the intrinsic properties that beings have, but is defined rather in terms of the important social relations that exist between beings.

For example, human beings can communicate with each other in meaningful ways, can engage in economic, political, and familial relationships with each other, and can also develop deep personal relationships with each other. These kinds of relationships require the members of such relationships to extend greater concern to other members of these relationships than they do to others in order for the relationships to continue.

Since these relationships are what constitute our lives and the value contained in them, we are required to give greater weight to the interests of human beings than we do to animals. The final theories to discuss are the moral equality theories. On these theories, not only do animals have direct moral status, but they also have the same moral status as human beings.

According to theorists of this kind, there can be no legitimate reason to place human beings and animals in different moral categories, and so whatever grounds our duties to human beings will likewise ground duties to animals.

Peter Singer has been very influential in the debate concerning animals and ethics. Singer attacks the views of those who wish to give the interests of animals less weight than the interests of human beings. He argues that if we attempt to extend such unequal consideration to the interests of animals, we will be forced to give unequal consideration to the interests of different human beings. However, doing this goes against the intuitively plausible and commonly accepted claim that all human beings are equal.

Singer concludes that we must instead extend a principle of equal consideration of interests to animals as well. Singer describes that principle as follows:. The essence of the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests is that we give equal weight in our moral deliberations to the like interests of all those affected by our actions Singer, Singer defends this principle with two arguments.

Singer's version of the Argument from Marginal Cases is slightly different from the version listed above. It runs as follows:. Singer does not defend his first premise, but does not need to; the proponents of the view that all and only humans deserve a full and equal moral status rely on it themselves see the discussion of Direct but Unequal Theories above. In support of the second premise, Singer asks us to consider exactly what properties only humans have that can ground such a strong moral status.

Certain properties, such as being human, having human DNA, or walking upright do not seem to be the kind of properties that can ground this kind of status. For example, if we were to encounter alien life forms that did not have human DNA, but lived lives much like our own, we would not be justified in according these beings a weaker moral status simply because they were not human.

However, there are some properties which only human beings have which have seemed to many to be able to ground a full and equal moral status; for example, being rational, autonomous, or able to act morally have all been used to justify giving a stronger status to human beings than we do to animals. The problem with such a suggestion is that not all human beings have these properties. So if this is what grounds a full and equal moral status, it follows that not all human beings are equal after all.

If we try to ensure that we choose a property that all human beings do have that will be sufficient to ground a full and equal moral status, we seemed to be pushed towards choosing something such as being sentient, or being capable of experiencing pleasure and pain. Since the marginal cases have this property, they would be granted a full and equal moral status on this suggestion.

However, if we choose a property of this kind, animals will likewise have a full and equal moral status since they too are sentient. The attempt to grant all and only human beings a full and equal moral status does not work according to Singer. We must either conclude that not all human beings are equal, or we must conclude that not only human beings are equal.

Singer suggests that the first option is too counter-intuitive to be acceptable; so we are forced to conclude that all animals are equal, human or otherwise. Another argument Singer employs to refute the claim that all and only human beings deserve a full and equal moral status focuses on the supposed moral relevance of such properties as rationality, autonomy, the ability to act morally, etc.

Singer argues that if we were to rely on these sorts of properties as the basis of determining moral status, then we would justify a kind of discrimination against certain human beings that is structurally analogous to such practices as racism and sexism. For example, the racist believes that all members of his race are more intelligent and rational than all of the members of other races, and thus assigns a greater moral status to the members of his race than he does do the members of other races.

However, the racist is wrong in this factual judgment; it is not true that all members of any one race are smarter than all members of any other. Notice, however, that the mistake the racist is making is merely a factual mistake. His moral principle that assigns moral status on the basis of intelligence or rationality is not what has led him astray.

Rather, it is simply his assessment of how intelligence or rationality is distributed among human beings that is mistaken. If that were all that is wrong with racism and sexism, then a moral theory according to which we give extra consideration to the very smart and rational would be justified. In other words, we would be justified in becoming, not racists, but sophisticated inegalitarians. However, the sophisticated inegalitarian is just as morally suspect as the racist is.

Therefore, it follows that the racist is not morally objectionable merely because of his views on how rationality and intelligence are distributed among human beings; rather he is morally objectionable because of the basis he uses to weigh the interests of different individuals.

How intelligent, rational, etc. Notice that in order for this argument to succeed, it must target properties that admit of degrees. If someone argued that the basis of human equality rested on the possession of a property that did not admit of degrees, it would not follow that some human beings have that property to a stronger degree than others, and the sophisticated inegalitarian would not be justified.

However, most of the properties that are used in order to support the claim that all and only human beings deserve a full and equal moral status are properties that do admit of degrees. Such properties as being human or having human DNA do not admit of degrees, but, as already mentioned, these properties do not seem to be capable of supporting such a moral status.

In order to implement the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests in the practical sphere, we must be able to determine the interests of the beings that will be affected by our actions, and we must give similar interests similar weight.

Singer concludes that animals can experience pain and suffering by relying on the argument from analogy see the discussion of Cartesian Theories above. Since animals can experience pain and suffering, they have an interest in avoiding pain. These facts require the immediate end to many of our practices according to Singer.

For example, animals that are raised for food in factory farms live lives that are full of unimaginable pain and suffering Singer devotes an entire chapter of his book to documenting these facts.

He relies mainly on magazines published by the factory farm business for these facts. Although human beings do satisfy their interests by eating meat, Singer argues that the interests the animals have in avoiding this unimaginable pain and suffering is greater than the interests we have in eating food that tastes good. If we are to apply the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests, we will be forced to cease raising animals in factory farms for food. A failure to do so is nothing other than speciesism, or giving preference to the interests of our own species merely because of they are of our species.

Singer does not unequivocally claim that we must not eat animals if we are to correctly apply the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests. Whether we are required to refrain from painlessly killing animals will depend on whether animals have an interest in continuing to exist in the future. In order to have this interest, Singer believes that a being must be able to conceive of itself as existing into the future, and this requires a being to be self-conscious.

Non-self-conscious beings are not harmed by their deaths, according to Singer, for they do not have an interest in continuing to exist into the future. Singer argues that we might be able to justify killing these sorts of beings with The Replaceability Argument. On this line of thought, if we kill a non-self-conscious being that was living a good life, then we have lessened the overall amount of good in the world.

This can be made up, however, by bringing another being into existence that can experience similar goods. In other words, non-self-conscious beings are replaceable: Since the animals we rear for food would not exist if we did not eat them, it follows that killing these animals can be justified if the animals we rear for food live good lives.

However, in order for this line of argumentation to justify killing animals, the animals must not only be non-self-conscious, but they must also live lives that are worth living, and their deaths must be painless. Singer expresses doubts that all of these conditions could be met, and unequivocally claims that they are not met by such places as factory farms. Singer also condemns most experimentation in which animals are used. He first points out that many of the experiments performed using animal subjects do not have benefits for human beings that would outweigh the pain caused to the animals.

For example, experiments used to test cosmetics or other non-necessary products for human beings cannot be justified if we use the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests.

Singer also condemns experiments that are aimed at preventing or curing human diseases. If we are prepared to use animal subjects for such experiments, then it would actually be better from a scientific point of view to use human subjects instead, for there would be no question of cross-species comparisons when interpreting the data.

If we believe the benefits outweigh the harms, then instead of using animals we should instead use orphaned infants that are severely cognitively disabled. If we believe that such a suggestion is morally repugnant when human beings are to be used, but morally innocuous when animals are to be used, then we are guilty of speciesism. Likewise, hunting for sport, using animals in rodeos, keeping animals confined in zoos wherein they are not able to engage in their natural activities are all condemned by the use of the Principle of the Equal Consideration of Interests.

Regan argues for the claim that animals have rights in just the same way that human beings do. Regan believes it is a mistake to claim that animals have an indirect moral status or an unequal status, and to then infer that animals cannot have any rights. He also thinks it is a mistake to ground an equal moral status on Utilitarian grounds, as Singer attempts to do. According to Regan, we must conclude that animals have the same moral status as human beings; furthermore, that moral status is grounded on rights, not on Utilitarian principles.

Regan argues for his case by relying on the concept of inherent value. According to Regan, any being that is a subject-of-a-life is a being that has inherent value.

A being that has inherent value is a being towards which we must show respect; in order to show respect to such a being, we cannot use it merely as a means to our ends. Instead, each such being must be treated as an end in itself. In other words, a being with inherent value has rights, and these rights act as trumps against the promotion of the overall good.

Regan relies on a version of the Argument from Marginal Cases in arguing for this conclusion. He begins by asking what grounds human rights.

He rejects robust views that claim that a being must be capable of representing itself as legitimately pursuing the furtherance of its interests on the grounds that this conception of rights implies that the marginal cases of humanity do not have rights.

However, since we think that these beings do have moral rights there must be some other property that grounds these rights. According to Regan, the only property that is common to both normal adult human beings and the marginal cases is the property of being a subject-of-a-life.

A being that is a subject-of-a-life will:. This property is one that all of the human beings that we think deserve rights have; however, it is a property that many animals especially mammals have as well.

So if these marginal cases of humanity deserve rights, then so do these animals. Although this position may seem quite similar to Singer's position see section III, part A above , Regan is careful to point to what he perceives to be the flaws of Singer's Utilitarian theory. According to Singer, we are required to count every similar interest equally in our deliberation.

However, by doing this we are focusing on the wrong thing, Regan claims. What matters is the individual that has the interest, not the interest itself. By focusing on interests themselves, Utilitarianism will license the most horrendous actions. For example, if it were possible to satisfy more interests by performing experiments on human beings, then that is what we should do on Utilitarian grounds. However, Regan believes this is clearly unacceptable: This does not mean that Regan takes rights to be absolute.

When the rights of different individuals conflict, then someone's rights must be overriden. Regan argues that in these sorts of cases we must try to minimize the rights that are overriden. However, we are not permitted to override someone's rights just because doing so will make everyone better off; in this kind of case we are sacrificing rights for utility, which is never permissible on Regan's view. Given these considerations, Regan concludes that we must radically alter the ways in which we treat animals.

When we raise animals for food, regardless of how they are treated and how they are killed, we are using them as a means to our ends and not treating them as ends in themselves.

Thus, we may not raise animals for food. Likewise, when we experiment on animals in order to advance human science, we are using animals merely as a means to our ends. Similar thoughts apply to the use of animals in rodeos and the hunting of animals. In fact, your body contains thousands of different proteins, each with a unique function. Their building blocks are nitrogen-containing molecules called amino acids. If your cells have all 20 amino acids available in ample amounts, you can make an infinite number of proteins.

Nine of those 20 amino acids are essential, meaning you must get them in the diet. Bodybuilders drink protein shakes for breakfast and after working out. Dieters with no time to stop for lunch grab protein bars. Are these strategies necessary for optimal strength building and weight loss? Proteins in the body are constantly broken down and re-synthesized. Our bodies reuse most of the released amino acids, but a small portion is lost and must be replaced in the diet.

The requirement for protein reflects this lost amount of amino acids plus any increased needs from growth or illness. Because of their rapid growth, infants have the highest RDA for protein at 1. The RDA gradually decreases until adulthood. It increases again during pregnancy and lactation to a level of 1.

The RDA for an adult weighing pounds The RDA remains the same regardless of physical activity level. There is some data, however, suggesting that both endurance and strength athletes have increased protein needs compared to inactive individuals.

Endurance athletes may need as much as 1. For an adult consuming kcals per day, the acceptable protein intake ranges from grams per day, an amount easily met. Consider the pound bodybuilder whose protein needs are approximately grams per day.

With his energy needs so great, however, his diet will need careful planning. If he requires engineered foods such as bars and shakes, it will most likely be to meet his energy needs rather than his protein needs. One population that needs special attention is the elderly. Though the RDA for older adults remains the same as for younger adults, some research suggests their needs may be 1.

Helping them meet their nutritional needs may take a little creativity and perseverance. People become vegetarian for a variety of reasons including religious beliefs, health concerns, and a concern for animals or for the environment. Yes, in the typical American diet, most of our protein comes from animal foods. It is possible, however, to meet all of your protein needs while consuming a vegetarian diet. You can even eat adequate protein on a carefully planned vegan diet - a diet that excludes all animal products, including eggs and dairy.

When you think of protein, like most people, you probably think of beef, chicken, turkey, fish and dairy products. Beans and nuts might come to mind as well. Most foods contain at least a little protein, so by eating a diet with variety, vegetarians and vegans can eat all the protein they need without special supplements. This list illustrates the amount of protein found in common foods that may be included in your diet.

A complete protein includes all of the essential amino acids. Complete proteins include all animal proteins and soy.

Incomplete proteins lack one or more essential amino acids. Beans, nuts, grains and vegetables are incomplete proteins. Previously, registered dietitians and physicians advised vegetarians to combine foods that contained incomplete proteins at the same meal to give the body all the necessary amino acids it needed at one time.

Today we know this is unnecessary. Your body combines complementary or incomplete proteins that are eaten in the same day. If you eat a variety of foods, you will meet your protein needs. Recreational athletes rarely need protein supplements. Doctors, nutritionists and public health officials told us to stop eating so much fat.

Cut back on fat, they said, to lose weight and fend off heart disease among other ills. Rather, low-fat food labels seduced us, and we made pretzels and fat-free, sugar-rich desserts our grocery staples. Today we know to focus on the quality of the fat instead of simply the quantity. Say NO to very low-fat diets. Many people find them limiting, boring, tasteless and hard to stick to. And because fat tends to slow down digestion, many low-fat dieters fight hunger pangs all day or eat such an abundance of low-fat foods that their calorie intake is too great for weight loss.

Dietary fat has critical roles in the body. This caloric density is a lifesaver when food is scarce and is important for anyone unable to consume large amounts of food. The elderly, the sick and others with very poor appetites benefit from high-fat foods.

Fats and oils collectively known as lipids contain mixtures of fatty acids. You may refer to olive oil as a monounsaturated fat. Really, however, olive oil contains a combination of monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, but it has more monounsaturated fatty acids than other types. Similarly, it is technically incorrect to call lard a saturated fat. It does contain mostly saturated fatty acids, but both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are present as well.

Depending on the age, the AI for infants is 30 or 31 grams of fat per day. For an adult consuming kcals then, the acceptable fat intake ranges from 35 to 62 grams daily.

Experts discourage low-fat diets for infants, toddlers and young children because fat is energy-dense, making it appropriate for small, finicky appetites and to support growth and the developing central nervous system. Because your body can make all the saturated fatty acids it needs, you do not need any in the diet.

High intakes of most saturated fatty acids are linked to high levels of LDL low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol and reduced insulin sensitivity. If you tried to eat no saturated fatty acids, however, you would soon find that you had little to eat. Remember that fats are combinations of fatty acids, so even nuts and salmon good sources of healthy fats contain some saturated fatty acids.

What does bacon grease look like after the pan has cooled? Its firmness is a hint that bacon is high in saturated fat. Many saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Dairy fat and the tropical oils coconut, palm and palm kernel are also largely saturated. The greatest sources of saturated fat in the American diet are full-fat cheese, pizza and desserts. The benefit you experience from reducing your intake of saturated fats depends on many factors, including what you replace them with.

Loading up on fat-free pretzels and gummy candies may be tempting, but is a misguided strategy because diets high in heavily refined carbohydrates typically increase triglycerides and lower the beneficial HDL high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, both risk factors for heart disease. A better strategy is to replace the foods rich in unhealthy fats with foods rich in healthy fats.

Cooking with oils is better than cooking with butter or lard. A quick lunch of a peanut butter sandwich instead of a slice of pizza will do your heart some good. Trading out some of the cheese on your sandwich for a slice or two of avocado is another smart move. Food manufacturers create both saturated and trans fats when they harden oil in a process called hydrogenation, usually to increase the shelf life of processed foods like crackers, chips and cookies.

Partial hydrogenation converts some, but not all, unsaturated fatty acids to saturated ones. Others remain unsaturated but are changed in chemical structure. These are the health-damaging trans fats. They also lower HDL cholesterol the good cholesterol.

Achieving this might be trickier than you realize because many foods touting No Trans Fats on their labels actually contain traces of these artery-scarring fats. If you eat a few servings of foods with smidgens of trans fat like margarine crackers and baked goods, you can easily exceed the recommended limit. Identify traces of trans fats by reading the ingredients lists on food labels.

Partially hydrogenated oil is code for trans fat. You know that there are at least traces of trans fat present. When oil is fully hydrogenated the label will say hydrogenated or fully hydrogenated , it will not contain trans fats.

Instead, the unsaturated fatty acids have been converted to saturated fatty acids. As discussed, unsaturated fatty acids improve blood cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity when they replace saturated and trans fats.

There are two classes of unsaturated fatty acids: Monounsaturated fat souces include avocados, nuts, seeds and olives. Peanut, canola and olive oils are additional sources.

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