When it comes to nutrition, fats tend to have a rather poor reputation. There are types of unhealthy fats that can increase the possibility of suffering from conditions, such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, or diabetes. Still, some types are good for you and can help to promote good health. It’s important to get familiar with the good, bad, and even the ugly fats. Thus, you will know which type to continue consuming and which to avoid.
Avoiding fat altogether is impossible, as it is crucial to nutrition, just as proteins and carbohydrates are. They are used as fuel for the body and have certain functions and benefits for the body. For example, vitamins need fat to dissolve into the bloodstream and provide the body with its nutrients.
There are two types of fats, including trans fat and saturated fat, which are considered to be potentially damaging to health. These are commonly found in butter, margarine, beef, pork fat, and shortening. It is recommended to do your best and avoid trans fats altogether, while saturated fats should be consumed with moderation.
In most cases, saturated fats come from animal fats and are found in dairy products or high-fat meats. Some sources include:
- dark chicken
- poultry skin
- fatty cuts of beef
- whole milk
- sour cream
- ice cream
- or tropical oils such as palm oil
The blood cholesterol can increase by eating too many saturated fats, just as low-density lipoprotein levels do. Research has linked saturated fats to an increased risk of cardiovascular conditions; however, recent research shows that this might not necessarily be the case.
Trans fats or trans fatty acids are considered the ugliest kind. They should be avoided as much as possible. Trans fats are found in margarine, fried foods, vegetable shortening, baked goods, or processed snack foods, such as microwave popcorn or crackers.
Trans fats can raise LDL cholesterol levels, which are known as “bad cholesterol.” They are also able to suppress high-density lipoprotein levels or other known as “good cholesterol.” Interestingly, they have been linked to an increased risk of inflammation in the body, leading to heart conditions, diabetes, and strokes. Some margarine types are made out of hydrogenated ingredients, so you must always search for the non-hydrogenated types.
Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy. These are also the best choices to add to your nutrition. Some foods that contain this type of fat include vegetable oil. Monounsaturated fat is present in difficult types of foods and oils. Research shows that eating such foods can improve blood cholesterol levels and decrease the possibility of suffering from cardiovascular conditions. Foods that contain monounsaturated fat include avocado, peanut butter, almond butter, and nuts, such as peanuts, pecans, cashews, and almonds.
Polyunsaturated fats, also known as essential fats, are the type that the body cannot make on their own and need to get from nutrition. Oils and plant-based foods are considered to be the primary source of such essential oils. Essential fats can also decrease the likelihood of suffering from heart conditions, as they lower the blood cholesterol levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of such fats that are especially beneficial for the heart. They can not only decrease the possibility of suffering from coronary artery disease, but they can also help to lower blood pressure levels, while also protecting the body from irregular heartbeats.
Some fatty fish that contains omega-3 fatty acids include:
Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in:
- canola oil
However, not in such an active form as it is the case with fish. Polyunsaturated fats can also be found in foods such as:
- roasted soybeans
- soy nut butter
Polyunsaturated fats can also be found in seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. And in soft margarine or vegetable oils, such as sunflower oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and sesame oil.
In conclusion, based on recent research, overall fats are considered to be more “good” than “bad.” What to keep in mind is that there are certain types that are best avoided altogether. As mentioned, Trans fats are considered ugly, which can be harmful to health, but saturated fats, despite prior belief, might not lead to an increased risk of heart conditions. When compared to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats aren’t considered to be as healthy. So we advise that you consume them in moderation.
An excellent strategy to follow is:
- Consume as many monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as you can
- Have saturated fats with moderation
- Avoid eating trans fats altogether
This strategy can help improve the quality of your life and your health.
There are many ways to add healthy types to your diet. For example, you can include in your meal plans foods like:
- chia seeds
- extra virgin olive oil
- dark chocolate
- coconuts and coconut oil
Knowing what to eat and what to avoid can help you remain on the good side of fats, which can benefit your health in many ways.
Please Note: If you have cancer and another serious illness, please refer to the Budwig Guide for more information HERE. We have specific recommendations for those dealing with chronic disease. We also provide a full-body scan, which helps us analyze particular foods that you must avoid as an individual. Contact us for more information.
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- Fats and cholesterol. (n.d.), hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/
- The truth about fats: The good, the bad, and the in-between. (2018), health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good
- Malhotra A, et al. (2017). Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions. DOI:10.1136/bjsports-2016-097285
- Good Fats versus Bad Fats: A Comparison of Fatty Acids in the Promotion of Insulin Resistance, Inflammation, and Obesity, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6140086/
- A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5577766/
- A comparative overview on good fats and bad fats: guide to control healthy body https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265785533_A_comparative_overview_on_good_fats_and_bad_fats_guide_to_control_healthy_body