The Good, the Bad and the Fat
Fat. It’s a word that has become quite negative in the past few decades, ever since the fat-cutting craze of the 80s and 90s. To make matters worse, we even use it as an insult! This may be hard to stomach, but some types of fat are actually good for us. Our bodies need it (in moderate quantities on a daily basis, of course).
There are good fats and there are bad fats, and before we break each of them down for you, there is one very important factor to remember – when bad fats are removed from a diet, they must be replaced with good. Many people make the easy mistake of replacing bad fats with other foods (typically carbs), which actually results in feeling less full and eventually eating more. This is a rookie mistake to avoid.
The Bad: Saturated and Trans Fats
Saturated fat is typically found in high dairy products (butter, cheese, sour cream and the ever delicious ice cream). It’s also the reason non-vegetarian health nuts avoid tastier meats; the extra fat on lamb, pork and beef is saturated fat, as well as chicken skin.
Trans fat comes in the form of processed, packaged, or fried foods. Chips, crackers, even microwave popcorn will contain high amounts of trans fat. French fries, chicken fingers, fish and chips, and doughnuts can contain high amounts of trans fat, not to mention many items from the bakery, like cakes, croissants and cookies.
Bad fats increase our blood cholesterol levels, which is not in keeping with a healthy lifestyle.
Monounsaturated fats are found in raw forms of nuts (almonds, pecans, peanuts), as well as their nut butter equivalents. Monounsaturated fats are also found in one of the most nutritional foods out there: avocados. Polyunsaturated fats can take on a much more popular name: omega-3 acids. These acids are found in salmon, sardines, trout, as well as tofu, soybeans, walnuts and various types of delicious seeds (sunflower, pumpkin and sesame).
Some people may unassumingly consume bad fats via their cooking oils. Coconut and palm oil, as well as cocoa butter, are all forms of saturated fat. On the good fat side, vegetable oils like olive, canola and peanut all contain monounsaturated fats.