The Skinny on Good Fats and Bad Fats

Kirkland Personal Trainer Demystifies Fats

There’s a lot of confusion out there about fat; which ones are good, which ones are bad. And you’ve probably wondered yourself, if they’re good fats, then does that mean I can eat as much as I want???

The truth is healthy fats are important in any diet, even if you’re trying to lose weight. The importance is getting the right amount, and the right kind, of fats.

Let’s tackle the bad fats first. I think we’re all pretty familiar with trans fat and saturated fat, and it’s been made pretty clear that they’re not that good for you because they raise your cholesterol and are usually the fats responsible for weight gain. So what are they, anyway?

An easy way to remember is that trans and saturated fats tend to be solid at room temperature (think of that stick of butter!). Saturated fat comes from meat such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken (with skin), whole fat dairy (milk and cream) cheese, palm and coconut oil and lard. Trans fats are most often found in processed and packaged foods, and can be found in things like fried foods, candy bars and vegetable shortening.

Now, they are certainly coming up with processed foods that don’t have trans fats, but the important thing is to look at food labels, specifically the ingredient list, to know what your food really has in it (click here for nutrition label lies).

Good fats, on the other hand usually tend to be liquid at room temperature (like olive oil, or corn oil). They are the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and can actually help lower cholesterol. Omega 3s are a type of polyunsaturated fat and have been connected to heart health. Good fats in food include avocado, flax seed, safflower seed, peanut oil, olive oil, olives and many more.

My take on this? We definitely need fat, but consume it in moderation. Don’t cut out all fat in your diet, but try to make sure it comes from as unprocessed a source as possible. So, eat an avocado or olives or flax seed as the first choice to meet your fat intake requirements, then as a second choice, oils (in cooking, salad dressing, etc) and save the processed and fried foods for the occasional treat only. Your heart and your waistline will thank you!



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