We love food fat! And science is clear that the fats on this good fat bad fat food fat list are either great or disastrous for your heart.
Food fat can lead to either a happy healthy heart or, sadly, heart failure and death!
It’s now understood that the fat in food is not just about being “fattening.”
Although there’s still plenty of bad fat good fat food fat confusion, studies show there are extremely healthy good fats as well as extremely unhealthy bad fats. And there are even good fats that can help you lose weight!
Good Fat Bad Fat Food Fat List
If you’re having trouble digesting all the bad fat good fat food fat details, you’re certainly not alone. It’s understandable why you’re confused.
After all, an excess of saturated fat and ALL trans-fat in your diet are disasters waiting to happen. But on the other hand, the essential fatty acids are “essential” for optimum physical, mental and emotional health.
So to clear up any confusion here are the good fat bad fat food fat facts.
Trans-fats are created when processed vegetable oils are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Food sources include candy, cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, crackers, biscuits, cereals, deep fried foods, fatty meat from beef and sheep, soups, margarine and some salad dressings.
Saturated fats should make up no more than about 10% of your calories.
Even though saturated fats add flavor to food and are beneficial to your health in small quantities, in large amounts saturated fats have been shown to clog arteries and cause other cardiovascular health problems.
Saturated fats are mainly found in animal foods, such as beef, pork, lamb, butter, cheese, cream, ice cream and other full-fat and low-fat dairy products. But it’s also found in tropical palm and coconut oils.
Polyunsaturated oils are the main source of essential fatty acids; but…
Although polyunsaturated fat used to be ranked high on the food fat list, now that fat is better understood, it’s considered to be a mixed bag.
The reason is clear. Most people get way too much non-nutritious polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty-acids from highly refined vegetable oils. This throws off the optimum balance of omega 3 to omega 6 oils.
It’s much better to use monounsaturated olive oil for salads and cooking and get most of your essential fatty acids from whole food sources.
These include 100% whole wheat, brown rice and other whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans, especially soybeans, sunflower seeds and walnuts.
Monounsaturated fat helps protect against heart disease by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and raising HDL (good cholesterol). The best source is extra virgin olive oil. Other good sources include olives, almonds, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, avocados and pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Omega 3 Oil with EPA and DHA is considered to be in a special class all by itself; and this is true even though it’s technically polyunsaturated.
The extraordinary omega 3 EPA and DHA health benefits include reducing your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer; plus arthritis, depression and many other painful, serious diseases.
The best sources for omega 3 with EPA and DHA are salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout, anchovies and good quality omega 3 fish oil capsules.
Please note that omega 3 plant sources do NOT contain EPA and DHA.
And remember that all fats – good or bad – have 9 calories per gram. So even though olive oil and omega 3 fish oil are great for your heart and bacon fat is terrible, each fat gram adds the same amount of calories.
Astrup A, Dyerberg J, Elwood P, et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The role of reducing intakes of saturated fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: where does the evidence stand? Am J Clin Nutr 2011;93:684-8.
Mozaffarian D, Katan M, Ascherio A, Stampfer M, Willett W. New England Journal of Medicine. Trans fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. N Engl J Med 2006;354:1601-13.
Parrott M, Greenwood C. Annals of the New York Academy of Science. Dietary influences on cognitive function with aging: from high-fat diets to healthful eating. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2007;1114:389-97.
Devore EE, Stampfer MJ, Breteler MM, et al. American Diabetes Association. Dietary fat intake and cognitive decline in women with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2009;32:635-40.
Kruger MC, Coetzee M, Haag M, Weiler H. Progress in Lipid Research. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: selected mechanisms of action on bone. Prog Lipid Res 2010;49:438-49.
Hodge W, Schachter H, Barnes D, et al. University of Ottawa Eye Institute. Efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids in preventing age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review. Ophthalmology 2006;113:1165-72.
Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
Moore J. NOT GUILTY: The Long-Standing Vilification of Saturated Fat Finally Turning to Vindication. January, 2012.