Fat – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Fat – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Fat is good for us.

We need it in our diet every day.

Fat optimises our metabolism and enhances weight loss.

We need more fat in our diet everyday, not less like many nutritionists have been telling us for the past 30 years.

It all comes down to the kind of fat we eat – the key is to substitute good fats for bad fats.

So the ‘all fat is bad’ theory is totally incorrect.

It categorises all fats as being downright ugly, with no differentiation being made between types of fat.

Since the early 1980s, the advice has been that weight loss can only safely occur when a low-fat-high-carbohydrate diet is consumed.

A whole low-fat industry has even evolved to support this trend, even though it is wrong.

So what are ‘good’ fats and what are ‘bad’ fats?


The Good – Unsaturated Fat

  • Usually come from plant sources, especially nuts, seeds and some vegetables.
  • Fish are the richest dietary source of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Include all essential fatty acids (EFAs), Omega 3, 6 and 9s
  • Assist in raising ‘good’ cholesterol (HDLs) and lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDLs)
  • Can be further subdivided into:

Monounsaturated fats, such as canola, olive and peanut oils, along with most nuts and avocados.

Polyunsaturated fats, such as flaxseed, safflower, sunflower, corn, walnut and cottonseed oils and fish oils.

  • Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature


The Bad – Saturated Fats

  • Comes primarily from animal sources and includes whole milk products such as butter and cheese, fatty meats, dripping, lard and poultry skin.
  • With red meat, the worst of the ‘bad’ fats is the thick, often slightly yellow fat found on the outside of the meat.
  • The lean red parts of the meat, as well as game meat, are not as bad, as they contain mainly polyunsaturated fats.
  • Most importantly when processed (eg. fried foods) these fats stimulate products of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDLs).
  • Processed saturated fats can also clog arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Saturated fat is usually solid at room temperature.
It is important to note that not all saturated fats are bad, in fact some saturated fats can be healthy, such as those in coconut oil which have been found to promote cardiovascular health and weight loss.
When choosing dietary sources of animal fats, choose organic and grass-fed meats and dairy products, including butter, as these contain more nutrients and have less inflammatory fats than conventionally farmed animal products.


The Ugly – Trans Fatty Acids 

  • These unhealthy and even toxic fats illustrate what happens to food when we mess with nature.
  • Unsaturated fats are chemically modified by man in a process known as ‘hydrogenation’ so as to increase their product stability and shelf life.
  • They are used for commercial deep frying, margarine manufacture and pastry making and as an ingredient in many fast foods.
  • Some trans fat rich foods include cookies, crackers, baked goods and packages snack food.
  • They significantly increase heart disease risk, as these fats can raise the ‘bad’ cholesterols (LDLs).
  • Trans Fatty Acids are solid or semi-solid at room temperature.


Low in Fat = High In Sugar

When food manufacturers take fat out of a food source, in order to enhance the taste of the product they usually add sugar.

Just check out the ingredients listing of virtually any low-fat product – it will be packed full of something ending in ‘-ose’.

Sucrose, glucose, maltose, fructose, isomaltose, whatever-ose, if it ends in ‘-ose’ it’s a sugar, and it needs to be avoided.

Fat gives taste to many foodstuffs, so as soon as it is removed, the real taste of the food, and the natural fat-soluble vitamins disappear.

With all this added sugar in our food, is it any wonder the Western world is in the middle of a diabetes epidemic!


Emed Comment

Firstly, and probably most importantly, stop believing all the hype and hoopla that we are constantly fed about fats.

The best way to keep on top of the fats in your diet is to become a label reader.

The nutrition facts panel, you’ll find all the information you need to make healthful choices.

Look for foods that are low in saturated and avoid trans fats.

Bear in mind that a product whose label boasts it is “trans fat free” can actually have up to 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving – and these can add up quickly.

Here are more tips to help you reduce the total amount of fat in your diet and make sure the fats you consume are the healthy ones:

  • Choose a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Try a vegetarian meal, with plenty of beans, once a week.
  • Replace fattier sauces with vinegars, mustards, and lemon juice.
  • Try to use unsaturated liquid oils for cold uses, such as olive oil, and when cooking, use heat-stable organic butter or coconut oil.
  • Avoid consumption of high-fat foods, such as processed foods, fried foods, sweets, and desserts.
  • Avoid margarine due to processing and harmful health effects

Consume more essential fatty acids (found in deep sea, oily fish), at least 2-3 times per week.

If you don’t like fish, are vegetarian or allergic, you will need to supplement with a good quality fish oil.

Adopting to a diet rich in unsaturated fats will not only improve your cardio-vascular health but also your total metabolic health.

Your body will love you for it!


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