Fats – What’s Good and What’s Not?


For many years, people have been confused about different fats and oils, and what they mean for their health. Why is it that avocado is filled with fat, and so is deep-fried food, but only avocado is healthy? If you’re not sure what fats and oils you should be eating, and what you should be avoiding, read on.

What is Fat Defined as?
There are four main types of dietary fat: saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans. Each fat reacts differently with your body’s processes – some negatively, and some positively. Trans fat and saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels and put you at risk of heart disease, while polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can be critical for moving vitamins around the body and producing certain hormones.

What is Saturated Fat?
Saturated fat is typically bad for you. It’s the fat found in deep-fried food, bakery goods, and some drinks as well. It increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, can raise your cholesterol levels, and should only be eaten in moderation. Saturated fat is also found in meat and dairy but is coupled with vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Therefore, meat and dairy can be eaten in moderation, alongside generous portions of fruit and vegetables.

What is Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fat?
Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are far more beneficial for your body than saturated fat. They help to decrease bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol and are a preferred option over saturated or trans fats.

If you’re conscious about your health, always be on the lookout for ways to swap trans and saturated fats for polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. You can do this by swapping out butter for olive oil or choosing nuts instead of potato chips.

What is Trans Fat?
Trans fat is very similar to saturated fat. It can raise your cholesterol and puts you at risk of cardiovascular disease. However, trans fat is typically only found naturally in small quantities within beef and lamb and isn’t usually consumed in large amounts by the average person. However, those who frequent bakeries may discover their sweet treats and delectable pastries are laden with trans fats.

What Foods Contain Bad Fats?
Now that you know excess consumption of saturated and trans fats are bad for you, it’s helpful to know what foods they are in, so you can consume them in moderation. Your daily calorie intake should only be made up of around five to six percent saturated fat, so making healthy food choices can ensure you are within this range.

Consume the following foods in moderation:
• Butter
• Cheese
• Dairy
• Poultry with the skin on
• Pork
• Fatty beef
• Cream
• Lard and beef fat
• Baked goods
• Fried food

From a young age, we’re taught to follow a food pyramid diet. As an adult, these guidelines don’t change. Always eat a range of vegetables and fruit, grains and nuts, and consume dairy and meat in moderation. What’s more, a healthy diet should be complemented by regular exercise.