Good Fat vs Bad Fat

Good Fat vs Bad Fat

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Most of us have refrained from referring Fats as a healthy way to improve the nutrient intake in our body. Although fats are considered unhealthy, there is a common misconception that all fats are bad for you. Let us bust the myth.

There are three types of fats which the body consumes.

Unsaturated fats: Unsaturated fats, which are liquid at room temperature and can enhance blood cholesterol levels, relieve inflammation, normalise cardiac rhythms, and perform a variety of other functions, are considered healthy fats. Sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils, notwithstanding Walnut, Fish, and Canola oil – though richer in monounsaturated fat, are still a good source of polyunsaturated fat. Omega-3 fats are a form of polyunsaturated lipids that are very significant. 

The American Heart Association recommends that polyunsaturated fats account for 8-10% of daily calories, and there is evidence that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat (up to 15% of daily calories) can reduce the risk of heart disease. More recently, the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health (OmniHeart) found that switching from a carbohydrate-heavy diet to one rich in unsaturated fats, primarily monounsaturated fats, lowers blood pressure, improves lipid levels, and lowers predicted cardiovascular risk.

Saturated Fats: All fat-containing foods have a mixture of different types of fats. The end result is just as harmful to the heart as eating too much saturated fat. Pizza, cheese, whole and reduced fat milk, butter and dairy desserts, meat products (sausage, bacon, beef), cookies and other grain-based desserts, and a range of mixed fast food dishes are the most common sources of saturated fat in the American diet. Though decades of nutritional advice claimed that saturated fat was bad for you, that belief has begun to change in recent years. “There is inadequate evidence from prospective epidemiologic studies to infer that dietary saturated fat is related with an elevated risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, CVD,” they write.

Although a well-publicized 2014 study cast doubt on the link between saturated fat and heart disease, HSPH nutrition specialists found the report to be substantially misleading. To clear the air, the Harvard School of Public Health brought together a panel of nutrition experts and organised a teach-in titled, "Saturated or Not: Does Type of Fat Matter?" The overall message is that replacing saturated fat with healthy fats, particularly polyunsaturated fat, might be beneficial to one's health while cutting back on saturated fat.

Tran’s fatty acids, often known as trans fats, are created by heating liquid vegetable oils with hydrogen gas and a catalyst, a process known as hydrogenation. In modest amounts, trans fats can also be present in beef and dairy fat. Trans fats are the worst type of fat for your heart, blood vessels, and overall health since they raise harmful LDL while lowering good HDL. Inflammation is a type of immune response that has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Insulin resistance is a factor. Even little amounts of trans-fat can be damaging to one's health; for every additional 2% of calories taken daily from trans-fat, the risk of coronary heart disease rises by 23%.

The moral of the story is:

  • Choose foods that are high in “good” unsaturated fats.
  • Limit meals that are high in saturated fat and avoid foods that are high in “bad” trans-fat. 
  • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are “good” unsaturated fats that reduce illness risk.
  • Now that you know your ‘fats’, it is time to commence your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.


    Bhagyashree Hatti
    M. Tech (Food Technology)
    Quality Assurance and 

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