The Difference Between The Good And The Bad Fats

June 17, 2015


The popular misconception says that all fats (trans fat, saturated fat and unsaturated fat) should be avoided at all cost, however, the way your body processes fats is much more complex than previously thought.

One way or the other, your body will end up receiving both the good and the bad fats, so it is crucial to know which foods contain which kind of fats.

According to Alexa Schmitt, RD, a clinical nutritionist at Massachusetts General Hospital, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats are good fats and saturated fats are to be consumed in moderation.

The bad guys are trans fats and should be avoided altogether as they raise the levels of low-density lipoprotein, aka bad cholesterol, which is the main culprit when it comes to increasing the risks of heart disease and other serious health conditions, including stroke.

In order to cut these foods out as much as possible, here’s the list of common foods containing both good and bad fats:

Good fats

  • Mono-unsaturated fats: canola and olive oils, most nuts and avocados
  • Poly-unsaturated fats (omega-3 rather than omega-6 fats): fish (salmon and tuna), flaxseed, and walnuts

Bad fats

  • Saturated fats: red meat, processed meats (salami, sausage, ham, etc), dairy products such as cream and butter, and thicker vegetable oils like coconut, palm, and kernel oil.

One Comment

  1. Robert Cruder

    June 18, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Reconsider saturated fats. Studies that treated partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil as saturated fats were misleading and are no longer considered relevant. For physicians, Medscape has declared that there is not and never was any evidence against saturated fats.

    Human desaturate enzymes can easily convert long-chain saturated fats into n-8 mono-unsaturates similar to those found in olive oil.

    Short-chain triglycerides found in dairy and medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil are non-atherogenic and possibly anti-atherogenic. They are almost immediately metabolized as ketone bodies, are not deposited as body fat, do not raise insulin as carbohydrate does and appear to be a healthier fuel for the brain.

    Nutrition “experts” repeat conventional wisdom rather than recent research (such as that by Walter Willett) and lag by at least a decade.

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