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Fats: Which Ones to Eat and Which Ones to Avoid

Updated on July 11, 2020
Gerry Yang profile image

Gerry is a freelance writer, nutrition fanatic, self experimenter, and an avid researcher.

Fats: Which One's to Eat and Which One's to Avoid

Fats are essential for your health! Stay as far away from fats as you can!

Wait, what?!

I’m sure you’ve heard both pieces of advice before. You’ve had friends tell you that they’re trying to lose weight by cutting fats completely out of their diet, and you’ve had friends that are on a keto diet telling you that they virtually drink olive oil as an afternoon snack.

So, who exactly should you listen to?

You might think, “fats make you fat.” Or you might listen to your friend that’s on a keto diet because let’s be real… keto’s a pretty cool name for a diet.

Well, both pieces of advice are correct.

Let me explain why.

Types of Fat

There are 3 types of fat. There are unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats.

They each differ in their chemical structure and they each affect the body in different ways.

So, do you want to hear the good news first or the bad news?

Unsaturated Fats

Good news, here we go!

Unsaturated fats are fats that have double carbon-to-carbon bonds. These are the healthy fats. People on keto diets eat a lot of these. These are in a liquid state at room temperature.

Unsaturated fats can be subdivided even further into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated fats have one double bond in their chemical structure, hence “mono.”

They can be found in foods such as:

  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Canola oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Peanut oil

Monounsaturated fats come with a lot of health benefits too.

Monounsaturated fats can;

  • Help you lose weight
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Decrease inflammation

Polyunsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fats have two or more double bonds in their chemical structure, hence “poly.”

They contain two essential fatty acids; omega-3 and omega-6. These are vital for your brain health and cell growth.

Your body cannot naturally produce these, so these essential fatty acids have to come from your diet.

You can find Omega-3 in mainly nuts, seeds, and fish.

Here is the amount of omega-3 per 85 grams:

  • Salmon - 1.8 grams
  • Herring - 1.7 grams
  • Sardines - 1.2 grams
  • Trout - 0.8 grams

Omega-6 is normally found in oils.

Here are the oils with the highest percentage of polyunsaturated fats.

  • Safflower oil - 74.6%
  • Grapeseed oil - 69.9%
  • Flaxseed oil - 67.9%
  • Sunflower oil - 65.7%

Like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats come with health benefits too.

Polyunsaturated fats can;

  • Reduce age-related mental decline.
  • Improve infant development.
  • Promote heart health

Saturated Fats

The carbon atoms in saturated fats are surrounded by hydrogen atoms. In other words, the carbon atoms are saturated with carbon atoms.

Saturated fats are solids at room temperature.

Saturated fats can be found in food such as;

  • Red meat
  • Butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Whole milk
  • Cheese

Right, I have some not-so-good news for you now.

Saturated fats aren’t great for your health. They have been shown to increase cholesterol levels in your body. It increases the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body.

This can cause blockages in your arteries that prevent fluid blood flow. This, in turn, can cause higher blood pressure levels.

This is why some expert nutritionists recommend that saturated fats take up no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake.

Trans fats

Right, unfortunately, sunshine and rainbows are gone. Now, we’ve got to the bad news.

Trans fats are the bad fats. Trans fats are fats that have undergone a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is a process where hydrogen atoms are added to unsaturated fat. This turns them solid and prevents them from turning rancid. This means that the oils will be preserved for a long time without developing an unpleasant taste.

Trans fats are linked to an excessive amount of bad cholesterol, inflammation, a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

If that doesn’t sound bad enough to you. Then let me just tell you that trans fats are banned in the United States.

Yes, they’re that bad!


Fats are essential for your health! Stay as far away from fats as you can!

Can you see how these make sense now?

Both pieces of advice were perfectly viable.

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are both essential for your health. They are vital for brain development and cell growth, and your body does not naturally produce it.

So, fats are essential for your health!

But on the other hand, saturated fat and trans fats can cause inflammation and high cholesterol.

So, stay as far away from fats as you can!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Gerry Yang


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