Good Fat vs Bad Fat: All You Need to Know

Posted on July 22, 2017 in Living Well with 0 Comments

Fats don’t seem to get a lot of love, in theory, but most of us enjoy fat-based foods than we care to admit. The truth is, fat – at least, not all kinds of it -isn’t necessarily bad for you. Actually, just like proteins, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients, our bodies need fat to develop well.

It is estimated that the average adult needs about 20-30% of their daily calorie intake to come from fat (as against about 20% and 50% for proteins and carbohydrates, respectively). Fats release considerable amounts of energy to the body, just like proteins and carbohydrates.

But there are justifiable reasons for the bad rap they get, though. Bad fats are often primary suspects in cases of cardiovascular diseases, obesity and cancer. The goal of this post is to differentiate between the different kinds of fats, so you know which to indulge and which to avoid as much as possible. There are saturated, unsaturated and trans fats and we’ll look into every one of them below.

1. Bad Fat
Saturated fats and trans fats are the reason fats get all the flak they get. These kinds are generally bad for you, as they clog your arteries and trigger a lot of health problems after a while. One marker for them is that they are generally solid at room temperature.

Saturated fats are the kind found in foods that come from animals – meats and dairy products. You’ll find such fats in foods like fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb, dark chicken meat, and poultry skin They’re also found in high-fat dairy foods like whole milk, in butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream and in tropical oils (coconut oil, cocoa butter).

Trans fats are found mainly in processed foods and hydrogenated oils. They are mostly found in fast foods and help preserve food for long but aren’t great for your heart. You should seek to restrict the intake of these kinds of fats as much as you can. You will find trans fats in fried foods like doughnuts, french fries and deep-fried fast foods, processed snack foods like crackers and microwave popcorn. You’ll also find them in baked goods like cookies, cakes, and pastries.

2. Good Fat
Unsaturated fats – the kind found in foods that are liquid at room temperature. There are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and they’re both good for you. The extra advantage of monounsaturated fats is that they help lower bad cholesterol in the blood stream. Examples of such fats include those found in olive, canola, avocado and nut oils.

There you go, not all fats are bad. The key is knowing which to eat in moderation and the ones to avoid as best as you can. You may also like our post on 5 Protein-rich Meals You Can Prepare Without Meat.

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