Nutrition Series Part 5: Dietary fats – Healthy or Unhealthy?

Before this is analyzed, it’s worth taking a look at the recent diet fad history. I’m not going to list any particular low fat diets here, but I will talk about the general concept surrounding them. The idea is that fat is either 1) inherently bad for you or 2) that it stores directly as body-fat. The first point is more nuanced than that, and the second point is just a flat out misunderstanding of how the metabolism works.

There are some fats that are not so great for you. These generally come from fried foods and grease. There’s little, if no, micronutritional value to this fat, and an awful lot of potential harms. These are called trans fats, or trans-fatty acids. They occur in some animals, but are what your food is generally fried in. You can basically avoid this by means of not eating fried food.

There are other fats that are good in small doses, such as saturated fats. These fats are “generally solid and room temperature.” In other words – animal fats. The jury is still somewhat out on whether or not it’s okay to indulge in these specific fats. Personally, I don’t eat a whole lot of saturated fats. If you, however, eat lots of fatty cuts of meat, then it may be time to reconsider your meat of choice. Lean meats like chicken and fish are generally good choices.

Finally, there’s unsaturated fats in the form of mono and polyunsaturated fat. Good news though, they’re both good for you, so don’t sweat the fact that there’s two options. These generally come from liquid oils like olive oil. They also come from foods like avocados. While fish do have some saturated fat, they are also fantastic sources of unsaturated fats and would make a great substitution for red meat.

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