What Fats are Good and Bad?

What Fats are Good and BadWhat types of Fats are good and what types are bad?  You hear people all the time say “Oh it is OK to eat that” on the basis that it is a “good fat”. Well I am here to tell you just what types of fats are good and what ones are bad.  For many years now doctors and nutritionists have repeatedly said that low-fat diets are key to losing weight.  They also believe that it is key to managing other things like heart problems and cholesterol.  They are partially right in this statement but they aren’t being specific as to what fats are the causing these problems.  The culprits of these health problems are Saturated Fat and Trans Fat(The more common name for Unsaturated fat).  The Good Fats or as I call them the healthy fats are known as Monounsaturated Fats, and Polyunsaturated fats.  These healthy fats are the complete opposite of the bad fats, these fats are good for your heart, cholesterol and overall health.  Below is a chart of both good fats and bad fats.

What Fats are good and Bad?

Good Fats

Monounsaturated fat

Polyunsaturated fat

  • Avocados
  • Canola oil
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Olive oil
  • Olives
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Flaxseed
  • Safflower oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Soymilk
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Tofu
  • Walnuts

Bad Fats

Saturated fat

Trans fat

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Chicken with the skin
  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Ice cream
  • Lard
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Candy bars
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening

Why good fats are essential to good health

Now that we can differentiate what fats are good and what fats are bad we can look deeper into how the good ones effect you and why you need them.  Good fats are essential to both physical and emotional health. they play a huge role in helping manage your mood actually, they help you stay mentally fit, fight fatigue, and even help control your weight.  So all those low-fat or no fat diets are just going to hurt you in the end because you are depriving you of these essential fats.  So the answer isn’t cutting the fat out of your diet like so many of these popular diets say these days, but instead it is learning to make the healthier choices when you are deciding what to eat.

5 Misconceptions and truths about Fats

  1. Eating a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss.
    Truth: The obesity rates for Americans have more than doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the low-fat craze. Cutting calories is the key to weight loss, and since fats are filling, they can help curb overeating.
  2. All fats are equal—and equally bad for you.
    Truth: Saturated fats and trans fats are the bad fats for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease.  But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, doing the exact opposite by lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.
  3. Fat-free means healthy.
    Truth: A “fat-free” label doesn’t mean you can eat all you want without consequences to your waistline.  Most fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories. Stuff you don’t want if you are trying to lose weight pretty much.
  4. All body fat is the same.
    Truth: Where you carry your body fat matters and most people are unaware of this.  The health risks are actually greater if you carry your weight around your abdomen, instead of say your hips and thighs. A lot of belly fat is stored deep below the skin surrounding the abdominal organs and liver, and is linked to insulin resistance and diabetes.
  5. Lowering the amount of fat you eat is what matters the most.
    Truth: The mix of fats that you eat, rather than the total amount in your diet, is what matters most when it comes to your cholesterol and health. The key is to eat more good fats and less bad fats.

A Guide to Eating Healthy Fats

  • Don’t go no-fat go GOOD FAT
  • You should be eating omega-3 fats every day. Good sources include fish, walnuts, canola oil, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and soybean oil.
  • Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Avoiding commercially-baked goods goes a long way. Also limit fast food since they usually are packed with trans fats.
  • 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.

Sources of Saturated Fats

Healthier Options

Butter Olive oil
Cheese Low-fat or reduced-fat cheese
Red meat White meat chicken or turkey
Cream Low-fat milk or fat-free creamer
Eggs Egg whites, an egg substitute (e.g. Eggbeaters), or tofu
Ice cream Frozen yogurt or reduced fat ice cream
Whole milk Skim or 1% milk
Sour cream Plain, non-fat yogurt

How much fat is too much fat?

Say no to fast food

A general rule try to go by is to try and I repeat TRY and have fat only be around 30% of your calories a day. Believe it or not alot of peoples fat intake is over 50% and they don’t even know it. Fast food is fat food so try and stay away from it. an addition the the rule of only 30% of your calories only 10% of that 30% should be from saturated fat and only 1% from Trans fat

For those who hate math I will do it for you.  For a 2000 calories diet

  • 200 Calories from Saturated fats
  • 2 grams per day

I hope this will help you differentiate what the good fats and bad fats are.



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