Good Fat Versus Bad Fat. Which Ones Should We Be Eating?
We need good fat!
Food fat is no longer just about being fattening. Although there’s still plenty of bad fat / good fat confusion, scientists now realise that there are some extremely healthy good fats as well as extremely unhealthy bad fats. And some of the good fats can even help you lose weight.
Bad Fats & Good Fats Unscrambled
If you’re getting confused around bad fat and good fat details, you’re certainly not alone. And it’s understandable why. After all, too much vegetable oil or any trans fat in your diet is clearly a disaster waiting to happen. On the other hand, the essential fatty acids are vital for optimum physical, mental and emotional health. To clear up the confusion, here’s your bad fat and good fat list of fat facts.
Trans fatty acids
are the real bad boys of the fat world. Since trans fats have been shown to raise artery-clogging LDL (bad) cholesterol and cause breast cancer, they should be totally eliminated from your diet. Check food labels, or avoid packaged foods, margarine and deep fried foods.
Trans fat is created when processed vegetable oils are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Trans fats are bad for our health and work against weight loss. Food sources include lollies, cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, crackers, biscuits, cereals, deep fried foods, soups, margarine and some salad dressings.
Saturated fats add flavour to food and is beneficial to health. They are mainly in animal foods, such as beef, pork, lamb, butter, cheese, cream, ice cream and other dairy products. Beware of the quality of the animal products you eat though, aim for organic or at least free range as animals store their toxins in their fat cells so you could be consuming extra toxins with your saturated fat. Coconut products contain medium chain triglycerides, a type of saturated fat that our bodies like to burn as fuel and it can be safely heated to high temperatures, so it’s a great choice of fat in our diets.
are the source of essential fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6 oils. They used to be ranked highest on the food fat list. But now that food fat is better understood, polyunsaturated fats are known to be a mixed bag. The reason is clear. Most people get way too much non-nutritious polyunsaturated omega 6 fat in the form of highly refined vegetable oils eg Canola, corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean, safflower, sunflower and vegetable shortening. This throws off the optimum balance of omega 3 to omega 6 oils and causes inflammation in our bodies. Most of us need to add more omega 3 fats from fatty fish.
Good choices are to use extra virgin olive oil and flax oil for salads and macadamia nut oil and coconut oil for cooking and get your essential fatty acids from whole food sources. These include fish, nuts, seeds, grass fed cows and eggs plus flax seeds and walnuts.
Monounsaturated fat helps protect against heart disease by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and raising HDL (good cholesterol). The best source is extra virgin olive oil. Other good sources include olives, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, avocados and pumpkin and sesame seeds. These are some of the healthy fats that we need in moderation to achieve healthy weight loss.
Omega 3 with EPA and DHA is considered to be in a class by itself – even though it’s technically polyunsaturated. This is because of the exceptional omega 3 EPA and DHA health benefits and anti-inflammatory properties, which include reducing your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some kinds of cancers, arthritis, depression and protection against many other painful and serious diseases.
The best sources of omega 3 fats with EPA and DHA are salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout, anchovies and good quality omega 3 fish oil capsules. (Note: plant sources of omega 3 do NOT have EPA and DHA.)
Remember that all fats, bad or good, have 9 calories per gram. So even though omega 3 fish oil and olive oil are great for your heart and trans fat might isn’t, each fat gram adds the same amount of calories.