Good Fats and Bad Fats

When it comes to having a healthy diet, fats get a bad name. But the thing is, not all fats are created equal. Some fats are better than others and while some might promote bad health others are essential for good health. The key in knowing the difference.

What are some bad fats?

Saturated fat and trans fat are two types of fats that have been identified as potentially harmful to an individual’s health.

You can find these types of fat in things such as:

  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Shortening
  • Beef or pork fat

Of these two fats, health professionals advise avoiding trans fat while whole saturated fats should be eaten sparingly.

Saturated fats are mostly animal fats. They are therefore found in high-fat meats and dairy products such as fatty cuts of beef, pork and lamb, dark chicken meat/poultry skin, whole milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, tropical oils and lard.

You can find more about saturated fats here

Trans fat (or trans fatty acids) are the worst kind of fats for you. Doctors have linked trans fat to an increased risk of inflammation in the body that can cause harmful health effects such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Interestingly, margarine – which many people eat because they believe it is the healthier option – will sometimes contain trans fats. To avoid trans fats in margarine make sure you always choose the non-hydrogenated versions

What are some good fats?

There are two kinds of fats that doctors consider more ‘heart-healthy’ fats. These are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are better choices for your diet. 

Monounsaturated fats are present in a variety of foods and oils – many of which you will recognise such as nuts, peanut butter, avocado and vegetable oils. 

Polyunsaturated fat, also referred to as ‘essential fats’ because the body cannot live without them, are found in plant-based foods and oils. 

Omega-3 is a commonly known polyunsaturated fat. This fat can be found in fish, tofu, roasted soy beans, walnuts, seeds, vegetable oils etc. 

Takeaways

Even though saturated fats are not as bad as trans fats, it’s best to avoid adding them to your diet as much as possible. If it’s possible to replace them with monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats even better!

Although, just because one fat is better than another doesn’t mean you should overly consume the better one. After all, it is still a fat and outside of moderated consumption could have adverse health impacts.  

Data is begining to show that Australia is becoming an obese nation.

Read more about nutritional guidelines here.

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