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Good Fats vs Bad Fats

Fast Fat Facts 

  • Certain fats can play a role in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity
  • However, some fats are better than others and can even be considered healthy 
  • Fat is essential to your diet as carbs and protein fuel your body with energy 
  • Excess calories from eating too much fat of any type can lead to weight gain 

What are Less Healthy Fats 

  • Two types: Trans Fat and Saturated Fat 
  • Examples of foods that contain these types of fats are butter, margarine, shortening, and beef or pork fat 
  • Trans fats should be avoided entirely while saturated fats should only be eaten sparingly 

Saturated Fats

  • Animal Fats!
  • Found in high-fat meats and dairy products 
  • Include:
    • Fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
    • Dark chicken meat and poultry skin 
    • High-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
    • Tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter)
    • Lard 

Potential Negative Effects of Saturated Fat 

  • Can increase cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  • Doctors have linked higher intake with increased risk for heart disease risks 
  • Recent studies have indicated it may not be as bad as initially thought despite there being better alternatives
  • Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats can reduce your heart disease risk 

Trans Fats

  • Appears in foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
  • Arguably are the worst fats for you
  • Includes
    • Fried foods (french fries, doughnuts, deep-fried fast foods)
    • Margarine (stick and tub)
    • Vegetable shortening 
    • Baked goods (cookies, cakes, pastries)
    • Processed snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn 

Negative Effects

  • Trans fats can both raise LDL (bad) cholesterol while simultaneously suppressing good cholesterol 
  • Doctors have additionally linked trans fats to increased inflammation throughout the body which in turn can lead to harmful effects such as heart disease, diabetes, and strokes 

“Healthy” Fats

  • Two types: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated 
  • Heart healthier fats that tend to be liquid at room temperature 

Monounsaturated Fat

  • Eating foods with monounsaturated fat has been shown to increase blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Includes:
    • Nuts (almonds, cashews, and peanuts)
    • Vegetable oils (olive oil, peanut oil)
    • Peanut butter and almond butter 
    • Avocado 

Polyunsaturated Fat

  • Essential fats that you can only get from food 
  • A primary source is plant-based foods and oils
  • Decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels 
  • Includes:
    • Salmon 
    • Herring 
    • Sardines 
    • Trout 
    • Walnuts 
    • Flaxseed 
    • Chia seeds
    • Canola oil  

Bottom Line

Healthier fats are an important part of your diet, but moderate consumption is best! Trans fats are harmful to your health, however, saturated fats are not linked with an increased chance of heart disease. It is also important to include some level of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in your diet.

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