Not all fats are bad. Some fats are not only beneficial but actually necessary for our bodies to function properly.
For many people, however, the problem is that we tend to eat more of the bad fats, which taste good but can lead to obesity and heart diseases. So being able to distinguish between different fat types and recognizing which ones to include or exclude from your diet is important in order to follow a healthy, balanced diet.
What are good fats?
Good fats to incorporate into your diet include monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
- Monounsaturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
- Also known as “essential fats” because our bodies can’t produce them and need to obtain them from plant-based foods and oils
- Reduce the risk of heart diseases, lower blood cholesterol levels, and protect against type 2 diabetes
- Two types:
What are bad fats?
Bad fats that should be avoided include:
- Saturated fats
- Trans fats
What are different types of cholesterol?
Understanding how good and bad fats affect your cholesterol levels is important as well. Eating too many bad fats and not enough good fats can cause cholesterol to slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.
Here is a breakdown of the different types of cholesterol:
- Total cholesterol: Shows the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. It includes both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
- LDL (bad) cholesterol: Transports cholesterol particles throughout the body. LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of the arteries, making them hard and narrow.
- HDL (good) cholesterol: Picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to the liver.
- Non-HDL: Total cholesterol minus HDL. Non-HDL includes LDL and other types of cholesterol, such as very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL).
- Triglycerides: Another form of fat in the blood that can raise the risk of heart disease and pancreatic dysfunction.
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Zelman KM. The Skinny on Fat: Good Fats vs. Bad Fats. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/skinny-fat-good-fats-bad-fats#1
Marshall B. Good Fats vs. Bad Fats. Crisp Regional Hospital. https://crispregional.org/good-fats-vs-bad-fats/
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