The Right Kinds… of Fat


Posted on 15th March 2010 by Jiggly in Food and Drink



In my last post, I mentioned “the right kinds of food”, but failed to tell you exactly what those are.  Instead of doing one long post, I thought I’d do a brief series on this topic.

Contrary to popular belief, eating fat does not always make you fat.  Look at the French with their Foie Gras and full fat butters.  Stick to eating the right kinds of fat for optimum health.  The good, unsaturated fats help reduce harmful LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol.  Avoid bad fats (mostly trans fats and some saturated fats) that clog your arteries and raise bad cholesterol.

Did you also know that even though fat is the most calorically dense, it also helps to suppress appetite?  Always a good thing when you’re trying to lose weight.

Good Monounsaturated Fats:

  • Avocados
  • Nut butters
  • Nuts (except Macadamias)
  • Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil
  • Canola and Olive Oil

Good Polyunsaturated Fats:

  • Salmon (contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
  • Fish oil
  • Corn, Soy, Safflower, and Sunflower oils (contains Omega-6 Fatty Acids)
  • Leafy Greens
  • Algae, seaweed

Saturated Fats - these are naturally occurring fats often found in animal protein and dairy products.  The media went on a frenzy against saturated fats so they have a bad rap, but they do have a place in our diet and are not necessarily bad for us (when eaten in moderation).  Benefits include aiding calcium utility in bone health, reducing heart disease, acting as an antiviral agent, and stimulating the immune system.  Nonetheless, try to limit your intake of these foods because they are high in cholesterol.

  • Palm oil and coconut oil
  • Cream, butter, margarine
  • Chicken with skin
  • Marbled, non-lean meat
  • Whole milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Mayonnaise

Bad Trans Fat - beware of these sneaky devils – it’s hard to tell which foods contain them unless you read labels and check the ingredients list of most packaged foods.  Trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.  Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils”.  The good news is that most companies are veering away from using Trans Fat in their products because of the bad rap its been getting in recent years.  You’ll see a lot of products now touting “0 Trans Fat!” in big, bold font.

  • Processed, packaged foods
  • Deep fried foods like french fries
  • Shortening
  • Pastries and Pie crusts

Bottom Line? Yes certain fats are good for you, but too much of it can still lead to weight gain if you’re not careful.  Ultimately, it is about calories in versus calories out.  I wouldn’t recommend eating a bucketful of nuts in one sitting no matter how much healthy fat they contain.

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