Fats: Good or Bad??

Are you confused about which fats are ‘good fats’ and which fats are ‘harmful fats’?  You’re not alone! There is so much media hype these days about all types of fats – it’s hard to keep the facts straight!  While all fats, even good fats, need to be used in moderation – here are the basic facts to clear up confusion….

5 bottles of healthy oils

healthy oils

Good Fats – are unsaturated fats

‘MUFAs’ or Monounsaturated fats

  • includes Omega 6 Fatty Acids (from olive oil, peanut oil, avacados, nuts and seeds) which are more common in our diet than Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • can decrease risk of heart disease because of improved blood cholesterol levels and can be beneficial in type 2 diabetes (can help insulin levels and blood sugar control)

‘PUFAs’ or Polyunsaturated fats

  • includes Omega 3 Fatty Acids from cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, herring) and from ground flaxseed, avocados, flax oil and walnuts
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids are building blocks of the brain and nervous system
  • most people don’t get enough Omega 3 Fatty Acids in their diet
  • can decrease risk of heart disease because of improved blood cholesterol levels and can be beneficial in type 2 diabetes

Harmful Fats 

Unhealthy ‘Saturated Fats’

  • are mainly from animal sources (fats such as beef fat, pork fat, lard, shortening, butter)
  • can increase risk of heart disease by raising total cholesterol levels, particularly LDL (bad) cholesterol and can increase risk of type 2 diabetes
  • most are solid at room temperature

Very harmful ‘Trans Fat’ (partially hydrogenated)

  • increases triglycerides (a type of fat found in your blood) which increases the risk of stroke, diabetes, heart attack and heart disease
  • increases LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • increases inflammation and free radicals which damage cells
  • naturally occurring trans fats (from dairy and animal sources) are not as harmful as industrial (synthetic) trans fats
  • industrial (synthetic) trans fats are produced by partial hydrogenation of saturated fats (adding hydrogen to vegetable oil). This is done to increase the shelf life of the fat and make it easier to cook with.

‘Fully Hydrogenated’ Oils

  • when oils are ‘completely’ or ‘fully’ hydrogenated they do not contain trans fat, only saturated fat.
  • Important to note: if a product contains ‘hydrogenated’ vegetable oil (without specifying ‘partially’ or ‘fully’), it could contain trans fats.

While all fats need to be used in moderation – it is very important to have ‘good’ fats in your diet.  Many of our body’s organs need good fats,including: brain and nervous system, heart and circulatory system, digestion and elimination system, skin, hair, and nails. Healthy fats keep you energized, so you can do all the things you love to do!

Are you interested in learning more about healthy fats, whole foods, and which foods will give you a great feeling of vibrancy and energy?  Are you looking for healthier dietary options to help you feel and look your best?  Contact me – and let’s talk about it!


Informational Resources:

Book: Healthy for Life by Dr. Ray Strand

Mayo Clinic – Healthy Fats



Copyright © 2012 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved