Fats play a key role in both optimal health and weight loss.  Nowadays, there is so much conflicting information out there about which fats are good and which are bad - its enough to make your head spin!

This infographic entitled "Fats - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" illustrates six types of fat, and why each type is considered healthy or unhealthy, and lists typical foods in which each type of fat is found.  Here are some highlights:

The Bad and the Ugly:

Trans Fats increase total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol), while lowering HDL (good cholesterol) and are found in most fast foodsand many junk foods.  If a food label contains the words hydrogenatedpartially hydrogenated or shortening, it contains trans fats.

Saturated Fats increase total cholesterol and LDL and may increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.  Saturated fats are typically found in meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, milk, cheese, butter and other dairy and animal products, as well as in palm and coconut oil.

The Good:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are unsaturated fats that lower blood pressure and triglycerides, fight inflammation and control blood clotting.  Excellent plant-based sources include flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and walnuts.

Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs) raise HDL and lower LDL.  They are typically found inavocados, nuts, seeds, and olive, canola and peanut oils.

The Not-So Bad and Not-So Good Either:

Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs) can help lower total cholesterol and are found in nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and many oils, including corn, safflower, grapeseed, wheat germ, walnut, cottonseed, soybean, sesame, sunflower and vegetable oil.  Recent research suggests that consuming too many omega-6 (in relation to omega-3) can be harmful to the heart.  Currently the recommended ratio is 2:1 to 4:1 (omega-6s to omega-3s) but the ratio for of the standard American diet (SAD) is around 10:1.  Therefore, it is recommended that PUFAs be consumed in moderation.

It should also be noted that some nutrition experts, like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., say that any oil, even olive oil, can increase the risk for heart disease and should be avoided -view the four-minute video.
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