For decades, the medical community has been in an all out war against fat. Sadly, this war against fat is exactly what has led to the obesity epidemic in the US today.
Thankfully, this ‘truth’ is finally being turned on its head and people are slowly coming round to the idea that fat doesn’t make you fat, it’s sugar.
In fact, most fats are actually very good for you, and cutting them out can lead to potentially dangerous health problems in the long-run.
Even in the short-term, you’ll find that you feel very different when you shift your body to burning fat. Fat doesn’t give you the energy spikes and crashes that carbs do. Instead, it provides you with a more stable source of energy and is full of nutrients. Best of all, it helps you feel full longer.
Of course, as with everything, there are both ‘good’ fats and ‘bad’ fats. To help you know which ones to load up on and which ones to avoid, read on here.
What fats to eat
All fats contain a mixture, but you want the ones that are dominant in these: saturated fats, monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), and naturally occurring trans fats.
Saturated Fats are easily the most misunderstood fats today. Humans have been eating saturated fats from butter, cheese, and meat for thousands of years, without the rates of heart disease we see today.
So why does saturated fat get such a bad rap?
The difference is that in the modern American diet, these foods are commonly found in fan favorites like pizza, ice cream, and more. Though saturated fat is in all of those fattening dishes, it’s not the real cause of the issue. The real culprit is the processed carbohydrates that have also joined the party.
The truth is, saturated fats are actually very good for boosting good types of cholesterol and preventing the bad cholesterol from rising. They also help maintain your bone density and immune system and support your cortisol and testosterone levels.
Some good sources of saturated fat are in butter, red meat, cream, lard, coconut oil, eggs, palm oil and cocoa butter.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)
While saturated fat was being villainized by the medical industry, MUFAs have been recommended as the ‘common-sense good fats’ all along. Though even then, it’s typically suggested to keep consumption to a minimum.
Like saturated fats, MUFAs increase the ‘good’ cholesterol and contribute to lowering blood pressure. This helps to reduce the likelihood of heart disease.
They’re also shown to reduce belly fat and reduce the insulin resistance that comes from eating primarily processed carbohydrates.
MUFAs can be found in foods such as extra virgin olive oil, avocados and avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, goose fat, lard and bacon fat.
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs)
This type of fat is a bit more controversial because it can come in many forms and should be eaten a certain way. PUFAs contain both omega-3 and omega-6. While both are necessary for good health, too much omega-6 can be damaging.
When these fats are heated they give off what are called ‘free radicals.’ These can seriously damage your cells over time and become more dangerous with age. It contributes to what’s known as ‘oxidative stress.’
PUFAs when eaten cold can help reduce the likelihood of stroke, heart disease, and inflammation. They’re found in extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts, fish oil, sesame oil, chia seeds, nut oils and avocado oil.
Natural trans fats
Of all the fats, for years trans fats have been considered public enemy number one by the medical industry. While it may be true that a lot of trans fats are indeed bad for you, there’s a subgroup called vaccenic acid, which is actually good for you.
Like the other fats, it can reduce heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. It’s found in animal products that are grass fed (as opposed to corn or feed) and dairy fats like butter and yogurt.
What fat to avoid
Unhealthy processed trans fats and polyunsaturated fats
Some kinds of fats do justify the public war on them.
Processed trans fats are the archenemy of the good trans fats. These are what you get when you process the PUFAs, which is why it’s so important to eat those cold and untouched.
Processed trans fats increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, the ‘bad’ cholesterol, and they’re inflammatory and bad for your gut.
They’re found in hydrogenated oil, which is contained in cookies, margarine, fast food, crackers, and processed vegetable oils like cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, soybean and canola oils.
Being in a state of ketosis is great for both your health and waistline. By switching out glucose for fat, you can reduce inflammation and lose weight.
Having a high-fat diet is the key to this, but we can’t just eat anything that is low-carb. By arming yourself with knowledge about which fats are good or bad and why, you can gain all the health benefits without any of the drawbacks.
Are you on a ketogenic diet? Have you been more selective in which fats you’ve tried? Let us know below.