Fat. You can’t live with it (on your thighs and hips) but you also can’t live without it. And that’s because fat is an important energy provider that also helps us absorb important vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Fats can also help us feel fuller longer, so we don’t overeat. And our body simply NEEDS fat. Our brain is over 60% fat. So it’s never a good idea to try and remove all fat from your diet.
But there is a lot of confusion out there as to which fats are bad for us, which fats are good for us, and which fats are GREAT for us.
Let’s start by taking a look at the fats that are really, really bad for us:
Trans fats are manufactured fats, and typically anything made in a lab and not by nature is something you SHOULD avoid.
Trans fats are made when hydrogen molecules are pumped into vegetable oils. This process extends the fat’s shelf life. These trans fats are found in processed foods like baked goods, crackers, frozen pizzas, and potato chips.
- significantly increases our risk for heart disease
- causes inflammation
- can damage the inner lining of the blood vessels
- could drive insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
Always check the labels on foods. If you see the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” put the item down and walk away.
In the past, saturated fats have been vilified. We were all led to believe that if we ate butter or whole eggs we would die from heart attacks. But science has now debunked that myth. As we just learned, trans fats made by man are the ones that can make us really sick. But fats found in animal sources are actually very good for us.
So there is no need to stay away from full-fat cheese, butter, lard, tallow, egg yolks, or fatty cuts of red meat like ribeye steaks. Having said that, fat contains far more calories, so be sure you don’t overeat and begin packing on the pounds.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in seafood, especially fatty fish like salmon, herring, bluefin tuna, and sardines. These fats are incredibly beneficial to our health because they reduce the inflammation in our body.
Monosaturated fats are found in olive oil, avocados, and certain nuts. These fats can help with weight loss, reduce the risk of heart disease, and decrease inflammation.
The bottom line is, if man made it, avoid it, if it was made by nature, it’s good for you. This is a good rule of thumb to live by when it comes to fats and pretty much all food.