Fats - Good & Bad

good fats and bad fats

Not all fats are bad for you

Bad fats: saturated fats and trans fats

Two fats are considered "bad": Trans fatty acids and saturated fat. Most trans fat is created when manufacturers turn liquid oils into more solid fats like shortening and margarine. Saturated fat occurs naturally in nearly all fatty foods, but mostly in meats, dairy products and tropical oils such as palm oil and coconut. The evidence against both fats is so strong that it is foolish to play one against the other. No longer is it a matter of choosing which fat to avoid. People should cut down on both saturated and trans fats.

Technically, trans fats is worse than saturated fat, because saturated fat raises both LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol, while trans fats only raise LDL cholesterol. If you must target one of the fats for modification, you have a greater potential for change by cutting saturated fat because only two-percent of our calories come from trans fat, while 13 percent comes from saturated fat. The trouble with this is that saturated fat is in so many of our popular foods: Pizza, hamburgers, steak, and tacos, ice cream, lasagna and cheese to name some.

Good fats - Omega-3s

Polyunsaturated fish oils have always had a stellar reputation but now, three new studies show the omega-3 fats in fish oil protected people from sudden death. (In "sudden cardiac death", which causes half of all heart disease deaths, the heartbeat goes awry and then stops. Most victims have clogged arteries). -Healthy men who had more omega-3 fats in their blood were less likely to die of sudden death.
- Healthy women who reported eating fish at least five times a week had a 45-percent lower risk of dying of heart disease.
- Men who survived a heart attack and were randomly assigned to take fish oil supplements (1 gram or 1,000mg a day) were 53-percent less likely to die of sudden death than survivors who were given a placebo.

Due to these results and earlier studies, experts can now say that fish oils prevent arrythmias and sudden death. At higher doses, omega-3 fats may also protect the heart by lowering triglyceride levels and preventing blood clots, though that would not explain why the stave off sudden deaths.

In any case, the message is clear that eating more seafood is of great benefit to heart health. The American Heart Association now recommends at least two servings per week, preferably of fatty fish. (See list below). If you don't care for fish, there are other options. Among them: alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 that is largely found in flaxseed, canola and soy oils as well as flaxseeds, walnuts and soybeans. Bad Fats
Too much fat in the diet leads to weight gain and the risk of serious health problems. It is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and some cancers. This very real fact however is not the complete picture. The bottom line is that you do need some fat in your diet to be healthy.

REMEMBER: Whatever type of fat: 1gram = 9kcals.

How Many Grams Should I Have A Day?

The Weight Loss Resources nutritional profile recommends that 30% of your daily calorie quota should come from fats. To calculate how many grams this is per day, use this formula:
Grams fat/day = [Your daily calorie quota x 30%] ÷ 9

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