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Fat Facts

The word fats are usually spoken of with disdain. While it may be true that certain types of fat play a role in health problems like cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes, some fats can actually help to promote good health. Being aware of the difference between good and bad fats will help you look out for which fats to avoid, and which to eat in moderation. This can make a world of a difference.

But before we understand the distinction, it is important to know how fat works. Fat is as essential as protein and carbohydrates when fuelling your body with energy. Certain bodily functions also rely on the presence of fat. For example, some vitamins require fat in order to dissolve into your bloodstream and provide nutrients. However, the excess calories from eating too much fat of any type can lead to weight gain. All foods and oils contain a mixture of fatty acids, but the predominant type of fat they contain is what makes them “good” or “bad.”

‘Good Fats’

Foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat are considered more healthy fats and should be included in your diet with moderation. Some examples of these monounsaturated types of food include certain nuts like almonds and cashews, vegetable oils like olive and peanut oil, peanut butter, and avocado.

‘Bad Fats’

There are two types of fats that have been described as potentially harmful for your body. Saturated and trans fat are found in most foods like beef, pork, butter or margarine. Saturated fats are primarily animal-based and have been shown to increase levels of blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels which have the potential to increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Trans fat, short for trans fatty acids, are the worst kind of fats for you. These are particularly found in fried food like french fries, baked goods, and processed snack foods. Trans fats can raise your heart disease risk higher than saturated fat intake.

While ‘good’ fats are an important part of your diet, don’t forget to consume them in moderation because after all, they are still fats and are high in calories. Start by removing parts of your diet which are high in saturated and trans fats and then, slowly transition to incorporate foods that contain ‘good’ fats. It’s a strategy that takes effort but will help your heart and improve the quality of your life!