Are There Really "Good" Fats Or Is That Just A Marketing Scam?

foodlabels

As you assess your diet and decide what you should and should not be eating, it might seem appropriate to cut out fat entirely because that's what you're trying to get rid of, right? In truth, there actually is such thing as "good" fat and it's not just a marketing scam. They're called unsaturated fats while the fats you want to severely limit are trans fats and saturated fats. When you limit the fats you take in, your body will work more efficiently and be healthier in the long run.

Gretchen Vannice, MS, RDN, explains the difference between good and bad fats, saying that good fats improve circulation and blood pressure. They keep your heart pumping strong and help your brain to function and communicate with your body, along with keeping your cholesterol and triglycerides in check. Bad fats, however, are associated with heart attacks and high cholesterol. They increase inflammation and hinder circulation in the body. Babies especially need the good fats over bad fats as they grow and develop.

>> Read more about the best foods to add to your diet for a healthy heart.

The good guys (unsaturated fats) are divided between monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are found in most plant oils, avocados, olives, nuts, fatty fish and soy milk. Try substituting the bad fats for good sources of unsaturated fats by eating more fatty fish, like salmon, trout and catfish and using olive and peanut oils to cook food. (via Help Guide)

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Bad fats, more accurately called unhealthy fats, likely permeate your diet if you don't regulate intake. You can find them in certain cuts of meat, whole-fat dairy, butter, cheese, packaged snack foods, shortening and most anything fried. Even if you prepare your own food each day and forego eating out for lunch, you still might be using foods full of unhealthy fats without realizing it. While some unhealthy fat-filled foods might seem obvious, others aren't necessarily a no-brainer.

According to WebMD, the best way to monitor fat intake is to read your nutrition labels. Make it a habit to check the facts on the package before you drop it in the cart. Get foods low in total fat and low in saturated and trans fats. If it tells you it's "trans fat free," double check the label because it still might have half a gram of trans fat per serving and that can add up.

>> Read more: The Dos and Don'ts of Healthy Grocery Shopping

In the grand scheme of things, your body needs unsaturated fats and will function better without saturated fats. It's not a scam and it's certainly something to be mindful of. Pay attention to packaging, as that might be where the marketing trips you up. Nutrition labels are your best friends. As you develop habits and expand your knowledge of the food you buy, it will become second nature to consume the right foods that will make your body love you.

>> Click here to read about reading nutrition labels and what you should avoid.