Good Fats Vs. Bad Fats: Q & A

It’s a fact. Fat is a crucial part of any healthy diet. It may seem counter intuitive to consume fat when you want to lose it. But think again. The key is to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats. Take advantage of our question and answer session regarding good fats vs.

What is a “good fat?”

Generally speaking, the term good fat refers to the unsaturated variety. Unsaturated fats can be divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats include natural oils like olive, canola, sunflower and peanut. Avocados, nuts and peanut butter also also monounsaturated fats. Polysaturated fats include soy milk, varieties of fish, corn oil, soybean oil and more.

What is a “bad fat?”

Bad fats are saturated and transfats. They are detrimental to your health if consumed in excess. Examples of saturated fats are ice cream, fatty meats, butter, many dairy products and palm oil. Candy bars, fried foods, margarine and processed snack foods often include transfats.

How much “good fat” should my diet include?

Most nutritionists recommend limiting your total amount of fats to  20 to 35 percent of your daily calories. Saturated fats should make up no more 10% of your diet. Transfats should be avoided as much as possible. When it comes to good fats vs. bad fats, transfats are the worst offenders!

Why is fat an important part of the diet?

Your body needs fat to not only survive, but function well. Vitamins move through your body thanks to the help of fat. Essential fats help with brain development and functioning. Dietary fat provides your body with fuel and even keeps skin feeling soft.

What are the adverse effects of consuming too much fat?

Of course, the most obvious effect of eating too much fat (or too many calories in general) is weight gain. Excess fat also raises one’s cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. It also increases the risk of type II diabetes.

How can I add good fats to my diet?

Always read the label of any product you purchase. Be aware of hidden transfats and avoid foods that contain “partially hydrogenated oils.” It’s best to skip processed foods all together. Add a slice of avocado to your salad or sandwich. Throw some heart-healthy olives in your pasta salad. Cook with olive or peanut oil. Enjoy some nuts as a mid-afternoon energy boost.

Combine regular, moderate consumption of good fats with a solid fitness routine to best maintain your shape and health.