Are Fats Friends Or Foes: Differences Between Good and Bad Fats

On a weight loss regime, one of the first advice is related to giving up fats. However, when you explore brain-friendly foods, you’d see fats topping the charts. This can be confusing. On one hand, fats are negative. On the flip side, these are crucial for your health.

The answer to this confusion lies in the differences between fats. Broadly, fats are divided into good fats consisting of unsaturated fats, and bad fats including trans fats and saturated fats. You can also refer the good and bad fats as healthy and unhealthy fats.

Medically, fats are categorized as:

  • Saturated fats
  • Unsaturated fats
  • Trans fats

The unsaturated fats are further divided into polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. To make it easy to remember your fat fellows and foes, remember the following:

  • Trans fats are unhealthy
  • Saturated fats are semi-unhealthy
  • Polyunsaturated are healthy fats
  • Monounsaturated fats are healthy

Here’s an explanation of each of the fat types:

Tans Fatty Acids

Trans fats are unhealthy for your body. They can raise your levels of LDL or bad cholesterol while also encouraging inflammation. Trans fats can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and joint ache among other health conditions.

Examples of food sources containing fats are:

  • Fried foods
  • Margarine
  • Processed foods such as crackers
  • Baked items like cookies and pastries

Saturated Fats

These are commonly nicknamed as the “in-between fats” as they aren’t as unhealthy as trans fat but not fully healthy for the body as well. Subsequently, your diet can have 10% of its calories from saturated fats.

These fats in your diet can increase the value of total cholesterol and bad cholesterol. It can also spike your chances of artery blockage. Food sources containing saturated fats include:

  • Lard
  • Fatty cuts of pork, lamb, and beef
  • Tropical oils like palm and coconut oil
  • Dark chicken meat
  • Whole-milk dairy foods
  • Dark chicken meat

Monounsaturated Fats

These are healthy fats that’s don’t harm your health. In fact, regular intake of these fats can improve your levels of cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Some of the prominent food sources that are rich in monounsaturated fats include:

  • Nuts
  • Vegetable oils like olive and canola oils
  • Avocados
  • Almond and peanut butter

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated Fats are known as essential oils that are needed for the normal functioning of the body. These good fats are essential for combatting inflammation. Moreover, they form the protective jackets that cover the nerves.

Polyunsaturated fats are important for blood clotting and muscle movement. Two prominent types of these fats are omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6s. Your body needs omega-3s for a healthy heart.

Omega-3s protect from low blood pressure levels and irregular heartbeats. Omega-6s also play a similar role. You can increase your supply of omega-3 and omega-6 from the following:

  • Flaxseed
  • Nuts
  • Tofu
  • Seeds such pumpkin and sesame seeds
  • Fatty fish such as herring and sardines

Wrap Up

In a nutshell, fats can be great for your health as well as harmful depending on the type. Remember to love unsaturated fats, limit saturated fat, and lose trans fats for optimal health.