If you consider yourself to be somewhat health conscious or at least concerned about unwanted weight gain, then its a good chance you’re aware of the “bad fats” found in many of our diets, and have tried to avoid them to some extent.
Bad fats are often associated with ugly terms such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Though some “bad fats” can be reasonably consumed in accordance with a well balanced diet, the worst of the picking (i.e. trans fat) can really do a number on your health and should be consumed with caution.
In case you didn’t know, trans fat, (found in fast foods and other ready-made items such as prepared sweets) is considered to be an all around bad source for obtaining fat and is associated with all of the undesirable conditions just mentioned.
So why all the debate on bad fat vs good fat? Well, with the recent trend of the “all saturated fat is not bad for you” in health and fitness circles many people are posing the question, Which fat is bad fat? So to begin addressing this concern let’s first look at the different types of fats that we consume on the daily basis.
The fats that are considered to be “good fats” are known as unsaturated. They include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and are found in oils, nuts, and fatty fish such as salmon. These types of fats have been highly praised by nutritionist and health professionals. For instance, the relationship between high levels of olive oil consummation and low rates of heart disease is well-known as well as salmon being a great source for the omega-3 fatty acid connected to good heart health.
So generally speaking, we should replace as many bad fats as we can with the good fats. For example, if you are able to swipe one for the other at breakfast or when eating out than you should, for better health in the long run.
Saturated fats get a bad rap because of their association with weight gain and poor health with trans fat being the primary culprit. There are several types of saturated fats, but they are often only broken up into two categories, saturated and trans fat. These types of fats include natural sources such as meat, poultry, butter and whole milk but also include unnatural or artificially produced sources found in packaged goods and treats. And this last type of fat, is the most undesirable of them all, and goes by the name of trans fat.
Saturated on the other hand can be consumed reasonably and should be as some suggest. It has also been the topic of much debate recently as many articles and research have surfaced attempting to discredit the common notion that all saturated fats are bad and contribute to poor health and weight gain. This thought has been programmed in the minds of many people for years including health professionals and advocates. This is due to the proposed connection to these fats and serious health conditions. But much of the information that is currently circulating actually suggests that a diet with certain saturated fats (such as red meat and butter) is actually better for you and not a significant factor in weight gain, but managed properly, is optimal for your health. This feeling can be seen in the ever-popular low carb, high fat diets we see such as Paleo or Wheat Belly.
Regardless of the different stances on the issue, we do know that a well-balanced diet, with fat, is ideal for everyone in most situations. But proper moderation and choosing the right fats are key.
And as always, it’s advisable to conduct as much research as you can before making an major diet changes as well as consulting your preferable health care provider (this may be a licensed physician, dietitian, holistic consultant or nutritionist).