Overview of Good and Bad Fats

What is the Difference Between Good Fats and Bad Fats

Good fat? Yes, it’s true – fat can be healthy! Okay, don’t get too excited. Each of us needs a daily dose of healthy “good” fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) to help nutrient absorption, keep our skin soft and supple, provide fuel to our bodies and assist in lowering and controlling LDL cholesterol – better known as “bad” cholesterol. While daily fat intake is necessary and recommended in your daily diet, we all should be very conscientious about monitoring and controlling the amounts and kinds of fats we ingest. The “bad” fats are saturated and trans fats. Ingestion of bad fats can increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, LDL cholesterol levels, and plaque build-up in your arteries. Not good!

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats typically are found in natural foods such as avocadoes; certain nuts like almonds and hazelnuts; seeds, including sesame and pumpkin; and recommended cooking oils such as olive and canola.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats usually are found in vegetable oils, fish, nuts and seeds in the form of omega-3 fatty acids.


Where do bad saturated fat come from?

Saturated fat comes from many natural sources, including lard, shortening and full—fat cooking oils; beef, chicken and other poultry skins; and full-fat dairy products, like whole milk and cheese.


Where do bad trans fats come from?

A small percentage of trans fats come from natural dairy and meat products, but the majority of trans fat we ingest comes from processed, store-bought and fast-foods like French fries, snack cakes and bars, frosting, friend foods, doughnuts and mass-produced bakery products.


Tips for Reducing Bad Fats

  • Lowering the fat content in your homemade foods is one of the healthiest and easiest things you can do for you and your family’s health. To reduce fat content but keep rich hearty flavors, try the following:
  • Swap cooking oils and shortenings that are high in saturated fat such as palm oil, coconut oil, lard, butter and vegetable shortening for their lower saturated fat counter parts: canola, flax seed or olive oils.
  • Check store-bought product labels for trans fats and check the amount of saturated fat on the nutrition label.
  • Use low-fat or skim, reduced-moisture dairy products. These products contain less fat, calories, and cholesterol while still providing the necessary nutrients and great taste.
  • Trim all visible fat from beef and pork products and poultry skin to significantly reduce the saturated fat content.
  • Cook or baste meat and poultry with broth instead of butter or oil.
  • When poultry is fully cooked, remove the skin before serving
  • Use spice mixed and rubs on beef, pork and poultry instead of marinades or creamy sauces.
  • Broiling allows the fat to drip off the meat and into the pan, not on your waistline.
  • Substitute fruit snacks with homemade fruit leather or fresh fruit - less sugar and much cheaper.
  • Substitute white or fried rice with whole-grain rice or other whole-grains. 


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