Good fats vs. Bad fats: everything you need to know
Our bodies need to
take a regular and minimal intake of fatty acids to function properly. These
fatty acids are stored in our adipose tissues and constitute an important
source of energy for the organism, which will draw on these reserves,
particularly during a long physical activity. So there are good and bad fats.
It may all seem a little confusing. How to recognize good fat from the bad?
And, once identified, how can we limit our consumption of bad fats and make
good choices given the abundance of products offered? That’s why this article
gives you an overview of some important facts about fat. Are you ready? Let’s
get into it!
Good fats vs. bad fat?
There are four
different types of fatty acids found in the foods we eat:
- Bad fats: saturated fats & trans
- Good fats: polyunsaturated and
Bad fats: Saturated
and trans-fatty acids
trans-fatty acids are known to increase the tendency to develop the risk of
heart disease. Why bad fats have such a bad reputation? Studies have shown that
high consumption of these fats increases cholesterol levels. So, it is
essential to limit the amount in your diet by replacing them with good fats.
The overconsumption of these bad fats increases the rate of “bad”
cholesterol in the blood, cholesterol, which can alter the walls of blood
vessels by becoming lodged on them. Trans fats and saturated fats, therefore,
have the distinction of increasing the “bad” cholesterol. But Trans
fats also lower the level of “good” blood cholesterol and lead to
further damaging our cardiovascular health.
Where do bad fats come
Bad fats are found in
natural and processed products. The majority of saturated fat is
found in whole milk and cheese, pastries, meat, and butter. Fast food and
takeaways such as cakes, donuts, and fried foods can also contain a significant
percentage of saturated fat. The trans-fatty acids are found
naturally in meat and rich dairy products like butter and whole milk. They are
also found in prepackaged products such as biscuits, cakes, bread, crackers,
fast food, and some dairy products.
Good fats- Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids
The other two
important types of fat are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are
called ‘good fats.’ They are ‘good’ because they help to maintain normal
cholesterol levels in the body. They are found in vegetable oils, such as those
of corn or olive. These are good fats, known to reduce the risk of heart
disease by acting preventively on them. Omega-3s, a type of polyunsaturated
fat, are found in oily fish, certain nuts (walnuts, for example) and vegetable
oils, such as canola oil. A diet rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated
fatty acids (also called unsaturated fats) is to be preferred to maintain good
What foods are good
fats found in?
There is a large percentage of polyunsaturated fats in sunflower, rapeseed and linseed oil. It
is also found in products such as nuts, soy, or fish. Omega 3 and 6 fats are
two important types of polyunsaturated fats. The ideal way to consume them is
to spread your bread with sweet margarine, to season your salads with oil-based
dressing, and to prepare your meals with vegetable oils. Olive oil, peanuts,
avocados, and most nuts are good sources of monounsaturated fats.
Another way to introduce those fundamental elements in your system is by using tabs/pills. We listed above some of the highest quality Omega 3-6-9 supplements:
How to limit our consumption of saturated and trans-fatty acids
These simple tips will
help you to limit the consumption of bad fats:
- Leave whole milk products aside
and choose light variants, for example, replacing whole milk with
semi-skimmed or skimmed milk or whole milk cheese with lean cheese.
- For cooking, you can opt for a
small amount of vegetable fat or margarine (read the suggestions on the
label) instead of using butter or cooking fat.
- To limit your intake of
saturated fat, replace fatty meats (such as beef) with lean meats
(poultry, for example). This will allow you to consume less bad fats when
you eat (fatty) meat.
It is very difficult
to completely eliminate bad fats from our diet, partly because they are not
always clearly identified and also because some products that we like and those
we do not want to give up contain a little. When you are about to succumb,
remember that trans fats, even at low doses, significantly increase the risk of
developing heart disease and that the human body does not need it. A few
changes to your lifestyle can have a huge impact on your health and on the
lives of the people you care about!