Healthy Fats and Dangerous Fats
All fat is NOT created equal! Some are healthy fats and some are dangerous fats.
And which fats you choose may be making you fatter or keeping you from losing the fat you have.
Fat is one of the three critical macronutrients along with protein and carbohydrates. Some fats are super-health-boosting and others are super-health-busting.
Health-building fats support your brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods.
Health-busting fats pretty much bust all of these (brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods). This is why the information I’m sharing today is so important.
Generally, the fats from whole foods that are the least processed will be the healthiest for you. But you already knew that, right?
So, let me give you a definitive list of the fats to use, and the fats to ditch.
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Health-boosting fats are from:
- Nuts and seeds (hemp, flax, and chia)
- Pasture-raised/grass-fed animals/eggs
I love “virgin” oils, and here’s why. Getting the oil out of a whole food involves some processing. Sometimes it’s by squeezing, or heating. Other times it’s by using chemical solvents. The word “virgin” is used to show minimal processing (and no solvents!).
According to the World Health Organization’s Codex Alimentarius:
“Virgin fats and oils are edible vegetable fats, and oils obtained, without altering the nature of the oil, by mechanical procedures, e.g., expelling or pressing, and the application of heat only. They may be purified by washing with water, settling, filtering and centrifuging only.”
For example, Extra virgin olive oil must:
- Be cold pressed
- Not contain any refined olive oil
- Possess superior quality based on chemical composition and sensory characteristics.
Don’t you think these standards ensure higher quality? I sure do!
Plus, minimal processing helps to maintain some of the quality of delicate fat molecules, as well as their antioxidants. Win-win!
Health-busting fats are from:
- Seed and vegetable oils like safflower, soybean, and corn oils
- Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated
Hydrogenated oils are particularly bad. This is because they contain small amounts of “trans” fats. Studies show that trans fats lead to insulin resistance, inflammation, and belly fat. They also drastically raise the risk of heart disease. Lose-lose!
Don’t forget, we’re not just talking about buying bottles of these fats for home cooking. We’re also looking at the processed foods that contain them.
How to get more health-building fats
First, you have my permission to ditch any foods in your cupboards that contain safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or any hydrogenated oil. Soybean oil alone accounts for over 75% of oils consumed by Americans, so it’s pretty popular in the “non-health food” department.
Second, try substituting one of the health-building oils whenever you have a recipe that calls for the other stuff. Try flax oil in your salad dressing, avocado and/or olive oil in your cooking, and coconut oil in your baking.
Third, make healthier versions of your go-to processed foods. An example would be to try making your own mayonnaise. Here’s my homemade mayonnaise recipe and it’s way better for you than the unrefrigerated stuff you find at your grocery store.
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Use a variety of healthy fats for a balanced diet.
Avoid unhealthy fats that are going to make you unhealthy in the long run.
Remember that even healthy fat can be overdone and cause you to gain weight, so keep it in the right proportions.
Get the unhealthy fats out of your house. Get rid of the processed foods that contain unhealthy fats. And ask at restaurants when eating out what kinds of fat they are using and avoid the places that use unhealthy fats.
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