Good vs Bad Fats – Are You Getting the Right Fats in Your Diet?

 

With media channels everywhere reporting on the dangers of obesity, it’s no wonder people have begun looking closely at ingredient lists while shopping for food. Fats in particular, have garnered a lot of attention, as people try to trim as many calories as possible from their diets.

The problem that most have is that they are unsure which fats they should avoid like the plague, and which ones are actually good for them. Let’s address this issue now.

Bad Fats

Trans Fats

We’ll start with the bad fats first. If you’ve lived anywhere in the modern world over the past

decade or two, you’ve probably heard about the dangers of trans fats. These are considered

bad fats because they originate from hydrogenated liquid oils. In other words, it’s fat made in a lab, and it’s the absolute worst kind.

Hydrogenated oils are used to help extend the shelf life of certain processed foods, and as a

result, trans fat is formed. This is a health danger because it’s known to put you at higher risk for heart disease, and has even been said to clog the lining of blood vessels. Always read the labels to make sure you’re not consuming any trans fat.

Saturated Fats

Most saturated fats can be found in animal products, and have been known to raise blood cholesterol levels. Now, scientists are starting to revise their theory on unsaturated fats, but currently, they still advise you to limit these. (Please note that this type of fat should be limited, but not necessarily avoided.) Unlike trans fats, saturated fats are natural. So if you’re ever in a situation where you’re forced to “pick your poison”, choose saturated fat over trans fat.

Good Fats

Monounsaturated Fats

Now we’ve gotten the bad news out of the way, let’s look at the kind of fats you should absolutely include in your diet. We’ll start with monounsaturated fats because they actually help lower bad cholesterol (LDL),  and increase good cholesterol (HDL). These fats have also been known to aid in weight loss. You can find monounsaturated fats in foods like avocados, walnuts, peanuts and olive oil.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats lower bad cholesterol, and can help decrease the risk for a heart attack. They are found in foods like corn and salmon, and sometimes fish oil. Omega 3 fatty acids fall into this group, and are considered critical to fetal development.

Helpful tip: Bad fats solidify at room temperature (like butter) and good fats maintain a liquid form at room temperature (like olive oil).  

Now you know which fats are good and bad, do keep in mind that your body needs some

fat to operate. If you were to cut every ounce from your diet, you would be depleting your source of energy. Fat also aids in cell development.  

The most important thing to remember with all of this is that you won’t be able to completely

change your diet overnight. You can stop shopping for foods with trans fat today, but you still

may have a few items in the cupboard at home that have them. Most people aren’t willing to

dispose of anything they currently have to rid their cabinets of bad fats, but using this as a

starting point for better health is a good choice.

The good thing is now that you know what to look for you can take more control of your health by making food choices that advocate wellness. Make grocery shopping a time to implement informed choices about what you consume.


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