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Fats – Good vs Bad


Types of Dietary Fat: Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

To understand the difference of good and bad fats, lets look at what they are with a few examples.

The four major types of fats include:

monounsaturated (good)
polyunsaturated (good)
trans (bad fats)
saturated (bad)

Good Fats

Monounsaturated Fats and Polyunsaturated Fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.

Monounsaturated Fat:
– Olive oil
– Canola oil
– Sunflower oil
– Peanut oil
– Sesame oil
– Avocados
– Olives
– Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
– Peanut butter

Polyunsaturated Fat:
– Soybean oil
– Corn oil
– Safflower oil
– Walnuts
– Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
– Flaxseed
– Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
– Soymilk
– Tofu

Bad Fats

Saturated and Trans Fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol. They tend to be solid at room temperature (think of butter or traditional stick margarine), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid (think of olive or corn oil).

Saturated Fat:
– High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
– Chicken with the skin
– Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
– Butter
– Cheese
– Ice cream
– Palm and coconut oil
– Lard

Trans Fat:
– Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
– Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
– Stick margarine
– Vegetable shortening
– Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
– Candy bars

General Guidelines For Choosing Healthy Fats

If you are concerned about your weight or heart health, rather than avoiding fat in your diet, try replacing saturated and trans fats with good fats. This might mean replacing fried chicken with fresh fish, swapping some of the meat you eat with beans and legumes, or using olive oil rather than butter.

Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet by checking food labels for trans fats. Avoiding commercially-baked goods goes a long way, as well as limiting your fast food intake.

Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods. Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions.

Eat omega-3 fats every day. Good sources include fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.

How much fat is too much?

This depends on your lifestyle, your weight, your age, and most importantly the state of your health. The USDA recommends that the average individual:

Keep total fat intake to 20-35% of calories
Limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your calories (200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet)
Limit trans fats to 1% of calories (2 grams per day for a 2000 calorie diet)

Trans Fat: Eliminate This Bad Fat From Your Diet

When focusing on healthy fats, a good place to start is eliminating your consumption of trans fats. A trans fat is a normal fat molecule that has been twisted and deformed during a process called hydrogenation. During this process, liquid vegetable oil is heated and combined with hydrogen gas. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which is very good for food manufacturers—and very bad for you.

No amount of trans fats is healthy. Trans fats contribute to major health problems, from heart disease to cancer.

Sources of Trans Fats
Many people think of margarine when they picture trans fats, and it’s true that some margarines are loaded with them. However, the primary source of trans fats in the Western diet comes from commercially prepared baked goods and snack foods:

Baked goods – cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, and some breads like hamburger buns
Fried foods – doughnuts, French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, and hard taco shells
Snack foods – potato, corn, and tortilla chips; candy; packaged or microwave popcorn
Solid fats – stick margarine and semi-solid vegetable shortening
Pre-mixed products – cake mix, pancake mix, and chocolate drink mix

Saturated Fats: The Aging Fat

Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as red meat and whole milk dairy products. Poultry and fish also contain saturated fat, but less than red meat.

Simple Ways To Reduce Saturated Fat
– Eat less red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and more fish and chicken
– Go for lean cuts of meat, or stick to white meat, which has less saturated fat.
– Bake, broil, or grill instead of frying.
– Remove the skin from chicken and trim as much fat off of meat as possible before cooking.
– Avoid breaded meats and vegetables and deep-fried foods.
– Choose low-fat milk and lower-fat cheeses like mozzarella whenever possible; enjoy full-fat dairy in moderation.
– Use liquid vegetable oils such as olive oil or canola oil instead of lard, shortening, or butter.
– Avoid cream and cheese sauces, or have them served on the side.

Getting More Good Fats In Your Diet

Okay, so you realize you need to avoid saturated fat and trans fat… but how do you get the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats everyone keeps talking about?

The best sources of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish.

– Cook with olive oil. Use olive oil for stovetop cooking instead of butter, stick margarine, or lard. For baking, try canola or vegetable oil.
– Eat more avocados. Try them in sandwiches or salads or make guacamole. Apart from being loaded with heart and brain-healthy fats, avocados make for a filling and satisfying meal.
– Reach for the nuts. You can also add nuts to vegetable dishes or use them instead of breadcrumbs on chicken or fish.
– Snack on olives. Olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. Unlike most other high-fat foods, they make for a great low-calorie snack when eaten on their own. Try them plain or make a tapenade for dipping.
– Dress your own salad. Commercial salad dressings are often high in saturated fat or made with damaged trans fat oils. Create your own healthy dressings with high-quality, cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil, or sesame oil.

The importance of knowing your fats and getting the right amounts daily is such a crucial component. To help keep the integrity of your health and function of the body!

Information provided by Tim Roberts – BodiesByTim.