The word “fat” has a very negative stigma attached to it. When one thinks of fat in a diet, they think of artery clogging, big stomach, chubby thighs, high cholesterol, unhealthy, greasy, and even death (to name only a very precious few). Many are unaware that fat in a diet is also a key component to a healthy diet. Fat helps contribute to the delivering of fat-soluble vitamins, energy, and essential fatty acids. One can very easily get confused by this notion, so it is imperative that people understand the difference between good fats and bad fats.
It is easy to correlate fat with a sense of negativity. Many foods these days in the United States are loaded with very unhealthy things, including bad fats. With the rise and dependence on fast food in America due to busy and hectic lives, adults and even children have become more and more obese. Fast food however, is not the only culprit. Many foods that can be bought at grocery stores are filled with unhealthy things such as bad fats.
So, what constitutes as a bad fat? Trans fats and saturated fats are the ones to avoid. These fats are found in many fast food items such as french fries, and are also found in margarine, baking mixes, and a popular food called Ramen noodles. These are the fats that can lead to heart disease, clogged arteries, and lower good cholesterol (HDL) and raise bad cholesterol (LDL).
Healthy or “good fats” are not an oxymoron. They do exist and have an important purpose in our everyday lives and health. Good fats are the unsaturated fats which include polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. When these fats are eaten in proper moderation, they can actually replace the bad fats (trans fats and saturated fats) and lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and raise good cholesterol levels (HDL), all while lowering the risk of heart disease.
A list of some foods with healthy fats are:
- Walnuts (other nuts as well)
- Dark Chocolate (yes chocolate)
- Whole Eggs
- Fatty Fish (Salmon)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This is to name a few but remember, moderation is important. One cannot implement 5lbs of dark chocolate into their daily diet. A good rule of thumb when it comes to nutrition is “too much of anything is bad”
Fats do not need to be avoided. A matter of fact, they should be sought out. One should always read the nutrition label on anything they buy to see what they are consuming and how much. Good fats can cancel out the bad ones and even contribute to losing unwanted fat.
Fat does not need to be the villain, it actually can be the hero.