The Difference Between Good and Bad Fats
If you have ever attended one of the nutrition lectures Dr. Heuser or Peggy give (and we strongly encourage you to do so if you haven’t!) then I am sure you have heard them discuss this topic. A lot of people who haven’t had any formal education may think of fats in food as being bad. This is not true! There are good fats and bad fats, and I hope to show you the difference in this blog post.
Fats are very important for a variety of reasons. One of the main things fat does is help you lose weight. Think about that… eat fat to help you lose weight, doesn’t make much sense on the surface! It may sound strange, but it’s true! In addition to that, eating the correct fats can help aid in improving your cholesterol.
The fats to avoid are trans fats and saturated fats. These are often found in packaged foods and fast foods. Foods like French fries, margarine, cake mixes, and ramen noodles. These kinds of things raise your LDL (low density lipoprotein, aka bad cholesterol) and lower your HDL (high density lipoprotein, aka HDL. Think lousy cholesterol (LDL) and happy cholesterol (HDL) to help you remember!
I digress. The reason these fats are so unhealthy is because most of them have undergone hydrogenation. This is a chemical process that food manufacturers use to keep the bad fat in packaged food from going bad. These are hard to find on labels because there are laws that allow food companies to mislabel their products if they put less than .5g in (which is still way too much!).
- Foods with omega-3s in it – Fish! Especially salmon. We lone tuna as well!
- Avocados – They are high in calories but also high in fiber. It can help you feel fuller much longer.
- Extra virgin olive oil – One of the best oils you can cook with.
- Eggs – Contrary to what you might have heard eggs have lots of HDL, antioxidants, and are a great source of protein.
- Nuts – Specifically unsalted walnuts and almonds.
- Flaxseed – Rich in omega-3’s and fiber.
- All natural peanut butter – High in potassium, protein, fiber and unsaturated fats.
“Low-fat” diets are very misleading. You won’t get enough fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. In addition, good fats have properties that help lower the risk of heart disease. When food producers take the fat out of a food they have to replace it with something else. Usually it is some sort of refined sugar. This can cause a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels because of how quickly they are digested. You will get hungry much more quickly, and this will eventually lead to overeating. It is a vicious cycle!
The moral of the story is, make sure you are getting a sufficient amount of good fats in your diet, stay away from the bad fats, and you will be well on your way to helping meet your nutritional goals, and on your way to improved health!