FAT: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

There is a big misconception when it comes to weight loss, that you must cut fat from your daily nutrition. This is not true: your body needs healthy fats in order to function properly! In fact, cutting any food group out in its entirety is not a healthy way to lose weight. And, avoiding fat for any reason is not a healthy decision, because your body NEEDS it!

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Healthy fats are those that aid the body in processing nutrients from the food we eat. Without these healthy fats, all of the vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrient content of what we consume is not adequately absorbed by the body. Fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, are lost without a dose of healthy fats to go along with them.

So which fats are healthy? Which ones should you avoid? And what are some examples of each?

First, monounsaturated fats. There is some science behind the name, but that’s not the important part. What is important is where to get these healthy Omega 9 fats: from olive oil and avocados. These fats help the body to naturally lower bad cholesterol.

Next, polyunsaturated fats. These help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, helping the arteries stay clear and the blood to move freely through the body’s circulatory system. These are Omega 3 fats that you can get from wild-caught Atlantic salmon, or from taking a fish oil or flax seed oil supplement.

Lastly, saturated fats. Now these have gotten a bad rap over the years, but a little bit of healthy saturated fats are also necessary to maintain good health. Real, organic, unsalted butter (made from cattle that has been free range and grass fed with no hormones or antibiotics), organic coconut oil, and lean cuts of animal protein such as organic and free range white meat chicken and turkey (again, with no hormones or antibiotics), along with free range organic eggs (eat the yolk, that is where the healthy fats live!). These healthy fats help to boost your immune system so that you can fight off diseases and stay healthy when exposed to illness.

All of these healthy fats are essential to good nutrition, and DO need to be a part of your nutrition plan, even if you are trying to shed a few pounds. Don’t worry, you do not have to overdo it, just be sure you are getting a few servings per week.

Now for the bad fats. TRANS fats are the ones to avoid. You must read the ingredients list of the products you purchase to make sure there are none of these nasty synthetic imposters in your food. Any product that is meant to have a longer shelf life (things in a box, bag, can, or other packaging) will likely have this ingredient, and it will be listed as “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” oils. It does not really matter what type of oil it is, the hydrogenation part is what makes it a bad fat and not good for your body.  This substance is basically like “lard” or “vegetable shortening” and is used as a preservative in things like crackers, cookies, chips, cakes, breads, just about anything you would store in your pantry or on a shelf could contain this ingredient. So be diligent in reading labels to avoid this harmful substance!

So there you have it. There really are some GOOD fats that are necessary to good nutrition, so be sure you are including them in your healthy eating plan. To watch a short video on this subject, click here: https://youtu.be/K7eUY3VoVEQ

~ Doneane