Good Fat vs. Bad Fat: the health logic of Dietary Fats

Good Fat-Bad Fat-Cholesterol

The Good Fats vs. Bad Fats Dilemma

As bad as fat has been painted, its importance in the body is still unequalled. There are absolutely NO other nutrients that can perfectly replace fats. The primary end-product of all dietary fats is called fatty-acids and in fact, there are a category of fats that are medically referred to as essential fatty acids.

These essential fatty acids are so called because they are needed to keep our cells intact e.g. healthy skin, while they also help do some regulatory metabolic processes such as provide energy. They also have the primary function of transporting most of the vitamins (specifically Vitamins A, E, D and K) throughout the body.

But of course as you already know, there’re also the bad fats too.

And the very first step is to understand the resultant effects of various types of fats in the body. Let’s just keep this simple, shall we?

The Healthy Fat determining factor: CHOLESTEROL

On getting started with differentiating between the “good & bad fats”, the singular MOST IMPORTANT criteria is their resultant effect on CHOLESTEROL in our Blood.

What is Cholesterol? -Close Me

Cholesterol is best described as a waxy fat-like complex component of cell membranes produced by the liver and also gotten from foods (although in very small amounts). Because of its structurally similar nature to fats & oils, it cannot dissolve in water. Hence, cholesterol is ferried in our blood through some tiny protein particles called LIPOPROTEINS. (Let’s skip the rest of the medical jargon and cut straight to the vital must-knows).
The most important lipoproteins that affect our health & fat are the Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and the High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL).

LDL: these are the ones that distribute the cholesterol from the liver to all other cells/organs around the body; excess of which latches on to the walls of the blood vessels as plaques

HDL: are the other group that literally mop up cholesterol from the body cells/organs and ferries them away for disposal.

 

Clearly, you now know that all fats leading to higher HDL is healthy fat, while anyone that rather leads to increasing the level of your LDL, hence Cholesterol takes you farther away from optimum health!

As a rule of thumb,

All dietary fats would either increase OR decrease your HDL: LDL ratio.

Then unto the next one; step two is to learn how to spot which kind of fat would do what? So get started on acquainting yourself with the major types of FATS.

  • Mono-Unsaturated Fats
  • Poly-Unsaturated Fats 

Unsaturated Fats (Mono & Poly-unsaturated fats) are those officially categorized as being the ‘GOOD FATS’ because they lower our levels of LDL & Cholesterol, protect the heart and perform other general functions for a healthier body. Some super excellent poly-unsaturated fats further help by directly increasing our levels of HDL.

  • Saturated Fats
  • Trans-Fats

Conversely, Saturated & Trans-Fats are those grouped as being the ‘BAD FATS’ because they increase our levels of Cholesterol & LDL, hence are damaging to the heart, blood vessels and our body.

Airight, since this isn’t just some academic exercise, we can keep it practical with these simple tips below.

3 basic tricks to keep you safe & healthy with Fats

I know like most people, you probably wish all your healthy-eating diet target & weight loss issues would be solved by eliminating all fats from your plates! Unfortunately, now you know it’s not that simple. But here are easy tricks to always remember while navigating towards eating only healthy fats:

  1. All fats are NOT equal. As much as possible, stay clear of Saturated fats & Trans-fats.
  2. Cutting away all fats from your diets DOES NOT always mean healthy eating. The trick is to consciously eat more of the healthy/good unsaturated fats while minimizing the bad.
  3. It can be as easy as just spending 1 minute to read the food labels

 

 

Photo Credit: healthmeup.com

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