Fats: the good and the bad

Fats get a pretty bad rap when you don’t know what type to eat to maintain a balanced
diet. While most people think that all fats should be avoided, there are some we should actually all eat,  in moderation, to help avoid heart disease and assist in lowering cholesterol levels.

The good

Unsaturated fats are the type you want to be eating as part of a healthy, balanced diet. There are two types of unsaturated fats:

  • Polyunsaturated fats, which are omega-3 fats found in high doses in oily fish, and omega-6 fats, found in many vegetable oils and nuts.
  • Monounsaturated fats, which are found in olive and canola oils, avocado, cashews and almonds.

The bad

Saturated fats are the most common type and are found in many of the foods we consume each day. Dairy and fatty cuts of meat are the most likely places we’ll find saturated fats, as well as packaged foods like potato chips, deep-fried foods, cakes, muffins, pastries (pies and sweet foods), and biscuits.

It’s recommended that saturated fats in the diet are limited – high amounts of saturated fat are linked with an increased risk of heart disease and high cholesterol levels.

The ugly

Trans fats are best avoided if you can. Trans fats are processed, unsaturated fats that increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body and decrease the amount of ‘good’, contributing to risk factors that cause heart disease. Trans fats are most frequently found in packaged foods as well as some butters and margarines.