Healthy Living Tips: Good fat versus bad fat
We tend to think of fat as bad, however, it’s not entirely true. There are some fats that are good for you and assist in the regular functioning of your body. Not only do they have important nutritional benefits, but they also add flavour to your food.
Fats are also a great source of energy. The good ones help to keep your heart healthy, while also providing you with the necessary essentials for a healthy and growing body.
Unsaturated fats are what we call ‘good fats’ and there are two kinds: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Good fats are necessary for a healthy diet and will assist in improving heart health.
Good fats are found in oily fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel.
Polyunsaturated fats are found, for example, in:
- Oily fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel;
- Plant oils like sunflower oil and linseed oil;
- Flora spreads.
Monounsaturated fats are found, for example, in:
- Olive oil;
- Rapeseed oil;
- Some nuts like Brazil nuts;
Saturated fats and trans-fats are what we call ‘bad fats’. Too much bad fat in your diet is one of the main causes of elevated cholesterol levels. Trans-fats are particularly bad for you because they not only increase your bad cholesterol but they decrease your good cholesterol too. The causes of bad cholesterol can be found in the following food products:
Swap snacks like crisps and biscuits for raw vegetables, low-fat yoghurt or fruit.
- Fatty meats;
- Full cream dairy products.
Trans fats are found, for example, in:
- Processed foods like cakes and pastries;
- Fried fast foods and takeaways.
Ways to Replace Bad Fats with Good Fats
- Swap butter for plant fat spreads that contain polyunsaturated fats. As a general rule to remember: the harder a spread is at room temperature, the higher the saturated fat content.
- Swap snacks like crisps and biscuits for raw vegetables, low-fat yoghurt or fruit.
- Try to make a habit of checking the fat content on food labels. Pick those with the lowest saturated fat content, ideally less than three grams per serving.
- Switch to lower-fat dairy products, like reduced-fat cheese, low-fat or reduced-fat yoghurts, and skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.
- Replace processed and fatty meats like burgers with lean cuts or trim excess fat off meat before cooking.
- Swap red meat for skinless chicken and turkey, or oily fish like mackerel, sardines or salmon.