Good Fats vs Bad Fats

Before we discuss the difference between good fats vs bad fats lets first go over why this essential nutrient is important to your health.

Why (Healthy) Fats are Essential for your Health

Fats are a nutrient that is crucial to normal body function. It fuels the body (provides energy) and without it we could not live. Fat also makes it possible for other nutrients to do their job. It also works as an insulator for our tissues and a cushion for our vital organs. And to further validate why fat is essential for normal health, growth and development:

Studies have shown that laboratory animals that were raised without fat did not survive very long

In other words, research studies have demonstrated that there is a direct link between eating healthy fats and longevity (living a longer healthier life).

Continuing on with our discussion about good fats vs bad fats let’s next discuss one of the biggest debates in the health food arena.

The Great Debate about Fat(s) and our Health

There is much debate in the health food arena amongst health food experts when it comes to what are considered to be good fats as opposed to bad fats. So what’s the real truth behind fats? What is the truth about fat versus myth?

The Fat Phobia – Truth vs. Myth?

For those of you who were around in the 1980’s may remember that time period as the “Fat-Free 80’s”. It was the ‘fat free’ craze back then when stores lined their shelves with fat-free cookies, fat-free cinnamon rolls, soft drinks laden with sugar, but advertised and promoted as 100 percent fat free, and hundreds of other fat free products. So what’s the punch line? Well, while all of this was going on (fat-free craze of the 80’s) we began to see a disturbing climb in national obesity rates across the United States. And this increase in obesity rates, has steadily kept its course.

good fats vs bad fatsSo what is the point that I am trying to get across to you? Or what is the bottom line here.

Well first of all, what this tells us is that dietary fat was not the cause for the disturbing climb in obesity rates in the United States. People were eating fat free foods back then, but their waistlines were increasing. So it should be obvious that dietary fat was not the evil culprit that it was sold to be.

And the second point that needs to be made here is this. It’s not how much fat you eat, but it’s instead what kind of fat you eat, because not all fats are created equal.

Or in-other-words, it is a myth when so-called health experts tell you that you need to eat a low-fat diet to lose weight and stay healthy. Because it is the type of fat that you eat, not the total amount of fat that you eat. The key is to eat more good fats and less bad fats. Also eating healthy (good) fats are filling, so eating good fats will make you fuller and less likely to overeat and gain weight.

The bottom line is that what really causes weight gain and obesity is not necessarily a diet that has good fats in it (nuts, seeds, avocados, salmon, flaxseed etc.), but instead a diet that has bad fats in it e.g. commercially baked goods as well as processed and fried foods for example.

So with that background information in mind let’s now provide for you a list of good fats vs bad fats, so you know which ones you should add to your diet, and which ones you should avoid altogether. Let’s begin with a list of healthy (good) fats:

Healthy (good) Fats

Here is a list of healthy fats (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3) that are most recommended:

  • Avocados
  • Nuts such as almonds and pecans
  • Nut butters
  • Seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Grass fed meats
  • Cold water fish (salmon)
  • Raw dairy
  • Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
  • Olive oil
  • Non-GMO sources of tofu and soymilk
  • Olives
  • Peanut butter

Next is the list of unhealthy (bad) fats.

Bad Fats

Here is a list of bad fats (saturated and trans fat) that are not recommended and should only be used in extreme moderation – or eliminated from your diet altogether.

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

And lastly, I will break down the differences between the various kinds of fats into four different categories this time; Good, Great, Bad, & Killer Fats.

Good, Great, Bad, & Killer Fats

Great Fats – Omega-3 fats are considered to be great fats. They can be found in flax seeds.

Good Fats – Monounsaturated fats are good fats that can be found in nuts and avocados

Bad Fats – Saturated fats are considered bad fats. Saturated fats are found primarily in meat and dairy products.

Killer Fats – Trans fats are considered to be killer fats. You will find these killer fats in only two places; hydrogenated oils and meat (animal fats) and dairy.

Let’s further the conversation by expanding our discussion on the hydrogenation process.

Hydrogenation Process

In a nutshell, this is a method that the food industry designed for the purpose of creating toxic fats synthetically by hardening vegetable oil in a process called hydrogenation. And what this process does is make them behave more like animal fat.

So are there any benefits to this process? Well, yes there is, but at the expense of human life. Here a couple of benefits of the hydrogenation process.

Benefits of Hydrogenation Process

  1. Longer shelf life
  2. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are cheaper than animal fats

However, as indicated, the benefits are at the expense of human life. In fact, if you were to do a cost benefit analysis on this, you would discover that the cost greatly outweigh the benefits.

So the next question that should be asked is this. What intake levels of trans fat are safe? Well, according to the most prestigious scientific body in the United States, the National Academy of Sciences, they concluded that the only safe intake levels of trans fat are zero. In fact, the Academy stated that the tolerable upper daily limit of intake is once again zero. They go on to say that about one fifth of American trans fat intake comes from animal fat.

This concludes this lesson on good fats vs bad fats and why you need to learn the difference between the two. Read more about Health and Nutrition