Good Fats vs Bad Fats

One struggle I have when counseling some of my patients is a switch in their eating paradigms. One of those big paradigms is that "Fat is bad", when in fact Fat is GOOD!! So promise me that you will not purchase fat free or low fat items again! There are differences, however, that need to be taken into consideration. There are such things as Good Fats and Bad Fats.  To understand these better, you need to know the scientific name of these fats and what they do.

There are four major types of fats:

  • monounsaturated fats (good fats)
  • polyunsaturated fats (good fats)
  • trans fats (bad fats)
  • saturated fats (bad fats)

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as “good fats.” Good Fats help your brain function, cholesterol, and heart health. With that said, why would you want to subtract the fat?

Examples of these Good Fats include;

Monounsaturated fats

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter

Polyunsaturated Fat

  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu

If you notice most of these forms of fats are in natural occurring oils or foods found in nature. What a lot of people think is that in order to lose weight you shouldn’t eat fat, however our body needs fat to function and can often time assist in weight loss. Fat decreases satiety (hunger) by making you feel fuller longer and a lot of the time can also inhibit you from over eating. Bad fats however, don’t have this function. Typically when mixed with salt or sugar can have the opposite effect.

Trans Fats and Saturated Fats are considered “bad fats.” Why are they bad? They are bad because they contribute to most lifestyle diseases, particularly Heart Disease. Most forms of bad fat are not found in nature like good fats.  Here is a list of those fats to avoid.

Trans Fats

  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Commercially baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Stick Margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods
  • Candy bars
  • Packaged snack foods

Saturated Fats

  • Animal Fat
  • Butter
  • Processed Meats
  • Heavy Cream
  • Hydrogenated oils

I hope this helps! This is not an excuse cards to load up on all Fats, but be smart and implement it in your daily routine to lose weight and build healthy cells.