Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad. In fact, there are fats you should incorporate into your diet.
But first, here are the types of fats: saturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are found in foods such as beef, lamb, pork, butter, cheese and dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat milk.
Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and are found in avocado, nuts and soybean, canola and olive oils.
Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and turn solid when chilled. They are found in corn oil, sunflower oil and fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout.
Natural or artificial trans fats are found in doughnuts, cakes, pie crusts, cookies, frozen pizza, stick margarines and other spreads.
The good fats are the unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which constitute these fatty acids and oils recommended for a healthy diet: omega-3 fatty acids, pinolenic acid, conjugated linoleic acid, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, fish oil and coconut oil.
That sure is an earful, but they have plenty of benefits. According to this article, the said fats and nutritional oils play a role in weight management, heart health, eye and brain development and mood.
Saturated and trans fats are the bad fats, with trans fats being the worst. Both can lead to heart disease, raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels, according to this study. In addition to heart disease, trans fats can lead to inflammation, stroke, diabetes and other conditions.
However, here is some good news: There is a way you can burn saturated fat. According to this study, your body burns saturated fat on a low-carb diet.
Jeff Volek, senior author of the study, said in a statement: “When you consume a very low-carb diet your body preferentially burns saturated fat. We had people eat two times more saturated fat than they had been eating before entering the study, yet when we measured saturated fat in their blood, it went down in the majority of people. Other traditional risk markers improved, as well.”
But don’t get too excited, this doesn’t mean you can go crazy on saturated fats.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you should eat between 20 and 35 percent of your calories in dietary fat, eat more omega-3 fatty acids and keep your intake of saturated and trans fats at a minimum.