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Ultimate Guide to Fats: Types & Why We Need It

Ultimate Guide to Fats

All our life, we’ve been made to believe that fats are synonymous to sinister. We conjure all of our strengths and discipline just to say no to it. This is why you need an ultimate guide to fats.

Are fats really bad? Is there such thing as good fats?

Continue reading on to get enlightenment of what fats really are and what they can do to our health.

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Your Guide to Good Fats & Bad Fats

Fats are substances that help your body utilize some vitamins and keep your skin healthy. They are also the primary way of how your body is storing energy. Fats are essential nutrients that your body needs to survive. They don’t only play a crucial role in normal body function, but they are also responsible for making sure that other nutrients are doing their job.

With this being said, we can disregard the misconception that fats are generally bad. After all, how can something so important turn out to be so bad? Your mother is not entirely wrong when she warned you that fats can bring harm to your body though.

It’s easy to get lost in the battle between what fats are good and what are not. To make your life a little bit easier, we’ve listed down all the common fats and categorized them according to their effect on your health.

Good Fats

guide to good fats

Omega 3

Ranked as the best fats for your health, Omega-3 fatty acids are scientifically proven to be beneficial for your brain and body.

Omega 3 increases life longevity as they reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack. They also lower your risk of depression, arthritis, and some cancer. They can even provide relief on post-workout soreness. And to top it off, they also give you great hair and clear skin.

You should consume a recommended 250–500 mg of omega-3s per day. Great sources of omega-3 fats are algae, fatty fish, and several high-fat plant foods. Other foods that are rich in omega 3 are mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, herring, oysters, sardines, anchovies, caviar, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) is a type of unsaturated fat that has a number of health benefits. It can help you lose weight and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. This may also reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.

MUFA can be found in animal-based foods and meat but the best sources are plant-based foods such as olive oil, seeds, and nuts. Other foods that are high in MUFAS are eggs, sunflower seeds, olives, avocados, pork, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, peanuts, cashews, and almond.

Polyunsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fats are another type of healthy fats that can lower your bad cholesterol. As a result, it lowers your risk of heart diseases. They are also essential for your cell growth and brain function.

Polyunsaturated fat is found in animal and plant foods, such as vegetable oils, salmon, some seeds, and nuts.

Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)

MCTs are a type of fat found in certain oils and dairy products. They are rapidly absorbed and converted into energy, making them popular in ketogenic diets. MCTs can enhance cognitive function, support weight management, and improve athletic performance. Sources of MCTs include coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products like cheese and butter.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

CLA is a type of polyunsaturated fat found in the meat and dairy products of ruminant animals. It has been shown to aid in fat loss, improve lean body mass, and may have anti-cancer properties. Sources of CLA include grass-fed beef, lamb, and full-fat dairy products like milk and cheese.

Oleic Acid

Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat found in various plant oils. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Sources of oleic acid include olive oil, avocado oil, and macadamia nut oil.

Stearic Acid

Stearic acid is a type of saturated fat that does not raise cholesterol levels and may even support heart health. It is found in animal fats and some plant oils. Sources of stearic acid include beef, cocoa butter, and shea butter.

Bad Fats

guide to bad fats

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are sometimes called “solid fat” because they are most often solid at room temperature. They are bad for your health as they increase your risk of heart disease and help you gain weight. It is also said that having a diet rich in saturated fats may increase your risk of dementia.

Foods that are rich in saturated fats are meat, meat products, dairy products, the skin of poultry, and many processed foods, such as biscuits, cakes, chips, and pastries among others. Cocoa butter, palm oil, and coconut oil are also rich in saturated fats.

Trans Fats

Most trans fats are synthetically made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils so it resembles solid saturated fat. Trans fat are a big health hazard. They lower your good cholesterol and increase your bad cholesterol levels. Having a diet rich in trans fat increases your risk of stroke and heart disease, as well as developing type 2 diabetes.

It’s recommended that you totally skip foods rich in trans fats. Fried foods, fast foods, packaged foods, shortenings, stick margarine, crackers, cookies, pizza dough, biscuits, pastries, pies, and many other baked foods are rich sources of trans fats.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils

Partially hydrogenated oils are a significant source of trans fats. These oils are often found in processed foods to extend shelf life and improve texture. Consuming partially hydrogenated oils can increase bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease good cholesterol (HDL), leading to a higher risk of heart disease.

Interesterified Fats

Interesterified fats are chemically altered fats used as replacements for trans fats in processed foods. They are often found in margarine and commercially baked goods. While research on these fats is still ongoing, some studies suggest they might negatively affect blood lipids and insulin sensitivity.

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Why Do We Need Fat?

Now that we know which fats are bad for our health, let’s optimize the benefits of healthy fats. It’s important that you eat the right kind of fats for these reasons below:

Gain Muscle Mass

fats help us gain muscle mass

Eating healthy fats aids in muscle weight because it promotes hormone balance and helps you with post-workout recovery. A diet that is low in carb and high in healthy fats increases growth hormone which is necessary for muscle breakdown.

Optimal Body Composition

fats help achieve optimal body composition

You can achieve optimal body composition when you consume a huge portion of your calories from fat. When you replace carb with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, you can improve your metabolism, reduce inflammation, and improve insulin sensitivity.

Weight Loss

fats aid weight loss

Having a low-carb high-fat diet has been proven to be successful in weight loss. If you want to lose fat, it’s necessary that you also eat some fat. No wonder more and more people are joining the Keto diet. Fats give you a feeling of satiety so you will consume less calorie. It also improves your metabolism so you’re burning more fats.

Stronger Immune System

fats make our immune system stronger

Saturated fats contain the fatty acids myristic and lauric acids which are essential for your immune system. They are anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-microbial, and are effective in killing harmful bacteria that enter our body. Adding saturated fats on your diet can prevent infections and eliminate harmful pathogens.

nutritional Good and bad fats facts

Improved Cognitive Function

Your brain is mainly composed of cholesterol and fat, most of which is DHA, which are essential fatty acids. Eating healthy fats boost your brain function and reduces your risk of depression.

Fats are not generally bad for your health. You just need to know which ones are helpful and which ones are not. By including healthy fats in your everyday diet, not only do you feed your body with the essential nutrients it needs but you’re also improving your overall health and well-being.


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