It used to be widely advertised that fats are bad for you. After all, fats are the tiniest section of
the food pyramid, right? This widespread belief led to all of the “low-fat” and “fat-free” foods that
we have today in almost every aisle of our grocery stores.
But what more and more people are becoming educated about is that only some fats are bad for
you, and there are actually good fats out there that add to our diets in a healthy way.
The Ultimate Bad Fat
Trans fat. Most of the time listed on a list of ingredients as “partially hydrogenated oil.” Trans fat
is the ultimate bad fat that can be found in everything from pre-packaged commercial pastries to
fast food. Trans fat increases the harmful version of cholesterol called LDL in your body, while
also decreasing your good cholesterol called HDL. It also caused inflammation which can
cause problems like heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Luckily, these man-made fats are slowly fading from our food system. The Food and Drug Administration has deemed trans fat unhealthy in any level of consumption.
Fats to Eat in Moderation
Saturated fat. These fats are found in some of the most common foods that we eat, including
whole milk, cheese, butter and lard, and red meat. These fats must be eaten in moderation,
though, because diets high in saturated fats are linked to an increase in that bad cholesterol,
LDL. An increase in LDL is what causes blockages in arteries.
Of late, there have been debates about whether or saturated fats lead to heart disease. So far,
no definitive answer has been found, however, once again, it is best to limit these fats and
instead eat good fats and high-fiber carbohydrates instead.
Examples of Good Fats
The good fats that are beneficial to our diets are called monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated
fats. Something important to note about the polyunsaturated fats are that they are essential to
your body, however, your body cannot make them on its own! You must get them from food.
However, the complicated names aren’t as important as where they can be found. A good way
to tell a good fat is that they are liquid at room temperature. Here are some good-fat foods to
add to your diet:
1. Salmon (high in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce your risk for heart disease)
2. Olive oil and peanut oil
4. Walnuts and almonds
6. Nut Butters
7. Sesame, pumpkin, and chia seeds.
These good fats are so healthful for us, but they are fats, so be careful with portion sizes. A diet
that includes these types of foods, along with high-fiber carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables,
and plenty of lean protein is what helps us function at our best. And they are much better for us
than all those pre-packaged “fat-free” and “low-fat” foods!