Good Fat – Bad Fat: Which Fats You Need… and Which to Avoid
Talk to many diet experts, and they’ll tell you to avoid fats like the plague. Fats are high in calories. So to stay trim, they tell you, stay away from all fats.
But, as you probably know, not all fats are bad. In fact, some are essential for your good health. The problem is, there’s so much “noise” out there, it can get confusing.
So, what’s wrong with fat, anyway? What are the myths about fat? And which fats should you choose?
The answer to the first question may be in the “friendly” bacteria in your gut. These tiny creatures manufacture vitamins your body needs, help you digest your food and strengthen your immune system.
Researchers at the University of New Mexico (UNM) have found evidence that some fats may promote growth of unhealthy bacteria. Because this throws off the balance in your gut, your body may respond almost as if the fat were an invading germ.1
The resulting system-wide irritation, over the long term, may lead to heart trouble, joint pain and many other common health issues.
On the other hand, the UNM team also found that healthy fats have the opposite effect… encouraging lower levels of system-wide irritation. And that, in turn may lower your risk for a host of health problems.
That’s what’s wrong with some fats… and right with others. But “avoid fat” is just one of many myths about fats. Here are three more you should be aware of:
- “All plant fats – in liquid form – are healthy.” Not so! Some of these fats are loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids. Your body only needs a small amount of Omega-6’s… and getting extra promotes systemic irritation. That’s why soybean, corn and safflower oils aren’t a good choice.
- “Tropical oils are unhealthy.” Wrong again. Palm and coconut oils are saturated fats. But they’re not like most saturated fats, which come from animals. Tropical oils are medium-chain triglycerides, and your body reacts differently to them. In fact, studies show that coconut oil has many health benefits.
- “It doesn’t matter how much fat you eat, as long as it’s unsaturated.” Sorry, but even healthy fats are high in calories. You should only eat modest amounts of even the healthiest fats.
So, which fats should you eat?
First, don’t eat a lot of animal fats. Our ancient ancestors ate a lot of meat… but it was game. And wild game is lean. The leaner the meat, the better.
Don’t eat too many foods high in Omega-6 fatty acids, either. It’s okay to have an ounce or so of tree nuts regularly, even though they’re high in Omega-6’s. Nuts are loaded with protein and other nutrients. Walnuts are your best choice, since they’re also high in Omega-3’s.
Many nuts are also high in healthy monounsaturated fats. As are avocados and avocado oil, olive oil and sunflower oil. Again, these are great, but only in limited quantities.
Flaxseed is a good plant source of Omega-3’s. But not flaxseed oil. It spoils too quickly. You should also know that flaxseed doesn’t contain EPA or DHA – the two heart-healthiest Omega-3’s found in fish.
Salmon, sardines, halibut and trout are great sources of these healthy fats. And so is grass-fed beef. A German study found that grass-fed beef is a full one-third higher in
Omega-3’s than grain-fed.2
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Alcock, J., et al, “Nutrient signaling: evolutionary origins of the immune-modulating effects of dietary fat,” Q Rev Biol. Sep 2012; 87(3): 187-223.
2 Nuernberg, K., et al, “Effect of a grass-based and a concentrate feeding system on meat quality characteristics and fatty acid composition of longissimus muscle in different cattle breeds,” Livestock Production Science. Jun 2005; 94(1-2): 137–147.
THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THESE PRODUCTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.