Used to be, all fats were considered bad. We gobbled down low-fat versions of everything, assuming this was the path to true health. This was not a good time in dietary history, as far as I’m concerned. Three words:
Low. Fat. Cheese.
Thankfully, we now know that dietary fat is not nutritionally black and white. (Just like we know that not all carbs are the devil). Truth is, fat tastes good. The trick is to choose healthy fats, and shun the unhealthy ones.
Good fats are healthy because they reduce our LDL (“bad” cholesterol), increase our HDL (“good” cholesterol) and reduce our risk of heart disease. Healthy fats come in two varieties: polyunsaturated (especially omega-3) and monounsaturated fats. Sources of these fats are:
- olive oil
- canola oil
- cold water fish (like tuna, salmon, mackerel)
You want to include more of these in your diet. At the same time, you need to nix the bad stuff. Namely, saturated fat, and especially trans fatty acids. Why? They’re inflammatory. They’re artery-clogging. They give you a muffin-top.
Bad fats? Here’s your list to avoid:
- hydrogenated oils (margarine, shortening)
- baked goods made with hydrogenated oils (eg. cookies, crackers)
- deep-fried food
- movie popcorn (I have to admit, this one makes me cry)
- chicken wings
- french fries
- full-fat dairy products
- potato chips
You get the idea, yes?