Good Fats and Bad Fats Explained

Let’s talk about the big, bad “F” word for a minute. Yes, that cringe-worthy single-syllable term that terrorizes Americans nationwide: FAT. In our society, fat has evolved into a dirty word. Our bodies, our foods, our diets – they are so commonly labeled with the term, which has itself taken on a judgmental and very critical connotation. Popular media and the diet industry only act to reinforce and perpetuate this negative association. As a result, we wrongfully fear fat, both in the contents of our food and the composition of our bodies.

Is fat really such a bad thing, though? Are we right to critically condemn it? Hardly.

Dietary fat is a necessary macronutrient that provides our bodies with a variety of essential ingredients that we need to survive. Likewise, the fat that contributes to the composition of our bodies also serves critical functions in storing energy, brain and nerve functioning, temperature regulation, transportation of certain vitamins, tissue (including hair, skin, and nail) growth, hormone regulation, and more.

How, then, did it get such a bad reputation? Like all things, it’s about balance. Not too much, not too little. We all need some bodily fat to live and function at our best. It’s also all about the types of fat. When it comes to our diets and the food we put into our bodies, certain fats are better than others.

What’s the clean and simple truth about fats? We’re here to explain it all and give the dirty “F” word a modern makeover. To once and for all dispel myth from fact, we’ve created a guide to differentiate between the good and the bad (and the ugly) when it comes to fat. Read on to put those rumors to rest.

The Good

You’ve probably heard at some point in your life about the different types of dietary fat out there. From recent legal controversies regarding trans-fat bans to the ongoing debate over whether or not saturated fat is healthy, different types of fats are constantly being categorized as good or bad.

To do away with the constant confusion, here’s what we know to be true. The “good” fats are those known as unsaturated fats. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats consumed in a balanced diet have been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Among the polyunsaturated fats are the omega fatty acids that have recently garnered a lot of media attention for their immense heart health benefits. Diets rich in olives, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish (think salmon, trout, catfish, and mackerel) as well as healthy oils like olive, canola, and peanut, offer the best sources of both types of unsaturated fats.

The Bad

Next up? The bad guys. Just as certain fats are good for your body, there are those, too, that do more harm than good. Enter the saturated fat category.

Consisting of saturated fat and trans fatty acids, these are dietary fats that have been proven to clog arteries, raise cholesterol levels, and increase an individual’s risk for heart disease and stroke. As such, reducing the consumption of goods high in these types of fats is key to improving one’s health.

Thankfully, the government and FDA has been implementing more stringent regulations and legislation dealing with major food manufacturers to limit the quantities of these animal-sourced macronutrients. Common sources of trans and saturated fats include fried foods, highly processed foods, full-fat dairies, dark meats, and eggs. A healthy diet, according to the American Heart Association, suggests limiting daily intake of these fats to less than 10% of your total daily calorie consumption.

The Ugly

Lastly, the ugly. Body fat, while necessary to support the daily functions of a healthy mind and body, can be problematic in excess. Too much body fat not only affects your health but also affects your appearance.

Thankfully, recent advents in medicine and modern technology have made combatting unnecessary fat accumulations easy and pain-free. Whether you’re looking to eliminate cellulite, reduce belly fat, or solve some quick weight loss problems, there are non-invasive procedures available that can help. From low level laser therapy to cold laser therapy, these cutting-edge, science-backed practices have proven immensely successful at improving the appearances of customers far and wide.

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