At some point in recent history, we were all told that fat was bad for our hearts and that a low fat diet was the way to be healthy. But the truth is that we our bodies definitely need fats to stay healthy. What our bodies don’t need are the “bad fats.” So how can you know the difference?
The objective should be to eat good fats, not less fats entirely.
The following is some information to help you better understand the difference between good and bad fats.
About BAD Fats
There are two kinds of fats that you should avoid if you want to remain healthy and at a good body weight. They are: trans fats and saturated fats.
Trans Fats: Known as hydrogenated fats, these bad fats are not found in nature, but are man-made to keep foods fresher longer on grocery shelves. Look for ingredients in packaged foods that contain no trans fats, but be sure to actually read the list because sometimes “no” means fewer than .4 grams of trans fats.
Saturated Fats: Found in fatty red meats and poultry, dairy and many oils, these kinds of fats are natural but still can create elevated amounts of bad cholesterol in the body. Saturated fats have even been found to cause cancer in some people. As always, read product labels and ingredient lists before buying products with saturated fats.
About GOOD Fats
There are three kinds of fats that you should eat to keep your body performing at optimum levels and to maintain a healthy weight. They are: monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Monounsaturated Fats: This type of fat is the healthy fat that you should be eating. Switch out your saturated fats for monounsaturated fats and your bad cholesterol level will decrease while still keeping a healthy level of good cholesterol.
Foods that contain these good fats are olive oil, avocados and most nuts.
Polyunsaturated Fats: Not quite as good for you as monounsaturated fats, these still fall into the category of unsaturated. They have the ability to reduce bad cholesterol, however, consuming them can also reduce good cholesterol, which is not what you want to do.
Foods containing this kind of fats are corn, walnuts and soybeans.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Great for people who suffer from inflammation and for reducing the chances of having a heart attack, Omega 3 fatty acids are a certain kind of polyunsaturated fat typically found in fish and some nuts. The foods you should eat to get this kind of fat are salmon, chia seed and flaxseed. There are also Omega 3 supplements that have been shown to work well. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Choose Good Fats Over Bad Fats
Now that you know a bit more about the different kinds of fats, you should be able to make the right choice as to what is best for your health. Remember, don’t stop eating fats entirely, but instead choose good fats over bad ones.