Home Diets to lose weight Good Fats vs Bad Fats: Learn to Distinguish Them!

Good Fats vs Bad Fats: Learn to Distinguish Them!

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

All fats are not the same

First of all, fatty acids are the main components of fats (triglycerides). They are necessary for our health , since they are the main source of energy along with sugars. The fundamental thing is to consume the amount that the body really needs, since what is not used is stored in our body in the form of fat. Addition of fatty acids, carbohydrates that are not consumed, also be stored in the body as fat.

Therefore, we must learn to distinguish which ones are more beneficial for our body, and which ones are easier to dissolve so that the body consumes them as energy and does not remain in the body’s reserves . Above all, if we follow a weight loss plan, we must restrict the consumption of saturated fat and eliminate trans fat from our diet.

Generally, in the Mediterranean diet, omega 6 acids and saturated fats are abused . And really what interests us is to consume less saturated fat and more omega 3, we must use more vegetable fats and those from fish, but our high consumption of meat causes this to be unbalanced.

For this reason, and for you to choose fats correctly, we explain below the types of fats and in what foods we can find them.

Broadly speaking, fats are divided into 4 groups :

  • Fatty acids s aturados

    They are acids that their molecules are difficult to divide, solid, that accumulate in plates because they do not combine well with other substances.

    They are harmful to health, although it has been shown that they are not as harmful as previously believed, they increase the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

    They are found in animal entrails, meats, sausages, dairy products, butters, egg yolks, and some shellfish.

    They should not represent more than 10% of the diet , the advisable thing is between 5 and 8%. We also find it in oils such as coconut or palm.

Although they are considered one of the worst fats , along with trans or hydrogenated fats, lately studies reveal that they are not as harmful as previously thought. Since there is no correlation between its consumption and the increase in cholesterol; but we must emphasize that it is a type of fat that tends to accumulate and clog the arteries if consumed in excess, causing problems in the circulatory and cardiovascular system.

  • Monounsaturated fatty acids

    These lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL). They are good for health and the best known is oleic acid .

    They are mainly found in olive oil, avocado, nuts etc.

    They should represent around 15-20% of the dietary intake in fats, they protect us at the cardiovascular level, we must consume them in their proper measure, because they provide us with calories. The resulting value would be made by difference of the consumption of other fats in the diet.

    If you have high triglycerides, these fatty acids can contribute to its improvement.

  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids

    These are essential acids and can only be obtained through diet, they are not synthesized by the body . We must not forget that these types of essential acids are responsible for the proper functioning of the body and that we must ensure them to our body through diet.

    Among them, we can highlight linoleic acid , which is present in seed oils, wheat germ, sunflower oil or soybeans.

    We can divide them into two groups: omega 3 , present in oily fish in general and oils such as flax, walnut, rapeseed. This group is the most interesting, since it is very healthy for our body. In addition, they can be powerful anti-inflammatory and are used for the prevention of joint diseases, etc. (You can check it in the list of nutraceutical foods .)

    And on the other hand, omega 6, present in seed oils such as sunflower, pumpkin, wheat germ, in breast milk, red meat, eggs and peanuts. Among this last group, we can also highlight linoleic acid , which is present in seed oils, wheat germ, sunflower oil or soybeans.

    They should represent between 6 and 10% of the caloric intake in the diet. (2% omega 3 and one and 5-8% omega 6). They are mainly found in products of animal origin and dairy derivatives.

These are beneficial for health , but their oxidation causes toxic substances to be released that make it harmful to health, as they are the cause of different diseases, although we must emphasize that they are healthy fats.

  • Fatty acids t rans 

    They are processed monounsaturated fats that the body has a hard time eliminating these substances, and sometimes it cannot eliminate them completely and they accumulate in the body. They increase bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease good cholesterol (HDL). If you have cholesterol problems we advise you to take a look at the diet to lower cholesterol .

    The problem is that trans fats today are present in many foods that process and cause fats to become hydrogenated, which is even more harmful to health.

    They are present in margarines, industrial pastries, pre-cooked and processed products, etc. In nature, they are hardly present only in milk fat, in large quantities. They should represent less than 1% of the total calories in the diet.

Therefore, the consumption of monounsaturated fats would be calculated as follows:

In summary:

The total fat consumed should be represented between 15 and  a maximum of  30% of the total calories in the diet.

It is important to differentiate the types of fats, since they do not all have the same effects on our body. Take care of yourself without abusing saturated and trans and hydrogenated fats and consuming the most natural ones, if possible of plant origin and less harmful to the health of our body.

Below we offer you an image that explains in detail the fat groups and in which products we find them.

The types of fats and in which foods they are present

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