The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Fats
To some people, “HEALTHY FATS” is an oxymoron. In fact I’ll admit that the nutritional macronutrient fat has a very unfortunate name. It’s not much of an intellectual stretch to put 2 + 2 together to proclaim that fat makes us fat. Also, there’s the lasting, if not mistaken, image of fat filling your arteries, much like the clogged pipe of your kitchen sink. So what’s the truth about fats?
I’d prefer to categorize nutritional fats in three categories, based on a famous Clint Eastwood Western. We have good fats, those that are loaded with essential healthy nutrients. We have bad fats, those that are actually inflammatory to the body. By the way, inflammation is the #1 cause of disease and illness. The 3rd category is for downright Ugly fats, those that the body doesn’t even recognize as food.
Examples of good fats would be the picture above. We see avocado, olive oil, nuts, pastured eggs, wild-caught salmon, and grass-fed beef. Other fats that fall under the “good” category would include: coconut oil, palm oil, butter, ghee, and the much vilified animal fats, especially those that are raised organic/pastured. Healthy fats nourish the many systems of our physiology, perhaps the biggest benefactor being the brain. The brain consists of approximately 65% fat so it makes sense that this organ would need high quality fuel in the form of healthy fats.
Bad fats would be those foods that cause inflammatory damage to the arterial walls of your body. Foods containing damaging fats would include industrial oils: vegetable, corn, canola, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, peanut, margarines & shortenings. During the industrial process, seed oils are continually exposed to extreme high heat, causing them to oxidize easily.
I’ve saved the title of Ugly fats for those that we call trans fats. When trying to avoid trans fats, read your nutritional labels and look for the terms hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated. Trans fats were developed to increase shelf life of store products but they’ve actually lowered the shelf life of humans through heart disease. Instead of bad and ugly fats, eat healthy fats like butter & olive oil while completely avoiding the processed food aisles of your local grocery store.
Let’s chat about good & bad carbs next week. Be Well!