Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

If you really are what you eat, then eating more good fats than bad fats could help prevent heart disease, weight gain, strokes or even certain types of cancer.  We all need fats in our diet, but too much “bad” fat could have serious health ramifications.

What are good fats?

Good fats are monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (unhealthy cholesterol) and raises HDL cholesterol (healthy cholesterol).  Some good additions to your diet could be:  nuts, avocado and canola or olive oil.

The other type of good fat is polyunsaturated fats, which lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.  Salmon, fish oil, corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oils are all healthy choices.  Omega-3 fatty acids belong to this group, as well.

What are bad fats?

Saturated fats and Trans fats are considered to be bad fats.  Saturated fats like animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs and seafood, coconut oil and palm oil,  raise total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, while trans fats are hydrogenated liquid oils or trans fatty acids.  These are mostly found in processed foods or hard stick margarine.

What can you do?

You don’t have to give up eating the foods you love.  You may just need to make better choices by substituting fatty oils like coconut or palm oil with flax seed oil or canola oil when cooking.  Or try buying “trans fat-free” foods when shopping for processed foods.  Another good way to lower your intake of bad fats is to make sure and trim as much of the visible fat off meats or by switching to 1% or fat-free milk, instead of whole milk.

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