“Is fat bad for you?” entails a broad and confusing discussion about the different kinds of fat, which are either good or bad for the body. So to answer the question, let us explore the different kinds of fat that can be found in food and find out which ones are unhealthy.
Types of Fat
Also known as “solid fat”, saturated fats are usually found in meat, dairy, and other animal-based foods. Despite old guidelines that you should not eat red meat, recent studies report that saturated fat doesn’t increase the risk of coronary disease, according to WebMD. Sugar is the main culprit in most diseases, says Hufftingtonpost.
So where else can you find saturated fats? You kind find it in coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter. These are in whipped toppings, margarine, butter, and also coffee creamer.
According to Healthline, there are two types of unsaturated fats, which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. What differentiates this type of fat to the other two is that this doesn’t solidify because its molecules are loosely packed.
Most monosaturated fats come from fruits, nuts and seeds. This includes oils that are derived from them like olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil. These help maintain blood sugar and lower the risk of heart disease.
Polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, have two more types. These are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Both can equally protect the heart but omega-6 fatty acids are said to have inflammatory effects.
Examples of foods rich in omega-3 are flaxseeds, salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and tuna.
Most common sources of omega-6 are soybean oil, sunflower oil, and corn oil.
This type of fat is also called trans fatty acids. It has undergone hydrogenation which makes it more stable and less likely to rot. Because of its stability, it is highly used in margarine, shortening, and baked goods. You can also get this type of fat from beef and dairy.
Harvard School of Public Health says that trans fats are bad for the body because it raises LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL (good cholesterol), similar to the first item in our 8 Worst Foods to Eat post. This increases risks of heart diseases by 23% and even diabetes. So watch out for trans fats in your food. You can also find these in your processed foods, chips, crackers, and even some salad dressings!
So to answer the question “Is fat bad for you?”, you should be vigilant in knowing the differences between healthy and unhealthy fat. Saturated and trans fats can be beneficial up to a certain extent and with moderation, while unsaturated fats are the best choice. It is important to read food labels and remember that whole food are generally better than processed instant food.