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Healthy Fats 101 - WholeIntentions.com


By Ashlee Bradshaw, Contributor Writer

Fear of fats has become an epidemic among many American’s. Many doctors and health care professionals claim that low fat diets are necessary to lose weight, lower cholesterol, reduce risk of diabetes and other chronic illness. It is important to note that not all fats are created equal, and in fact some fats are actually good for you and help support biological functions!

What is fat?

Without getting into the chemistry of it all, the word “fat” refers to the dietary fat found in plant and animal food sources. There are four different types of dietary fats in our food, some of which are bad and others that are vital for our overall health. Types of fat:

  • monounsaturated fats examples: nuts, vegetable oils, avocados
  • polyunsaturated fats examples: nuts, seeds, fish, leafy greens
  • saturated fats examples: meat, butter, milk, cheese
  • trans fats examples: chips, French fries, fried foods

The good, the bad, the ugly

This is where things get a bit confusing and reports are conflicting. Generally unsaturated fats are considered to be “good” or healthier fats, however there are factors that come in to play about how healthy they truly are such as the source in which they come from (genetically modified or non-genetically modified) and how they are processed (extra virgin vs. refined). It is important to pay attention to these factors when choosing unsaturated fats to eat, especially with oils.

There is controversy over saturated fats and their link to heart disease, but the key thing to remember is that the human population has been eating saturated fats such as milk, butter, and cheese for centuries and only recently is it being linked to said diseases. In fact, a recent study done by Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury states that saturated fatty acid in the bloodstream had no link to coronary disease. This raises a lot of questions pertaining to the former links between saturated fats and heart disease. Despite the claims against saturated fats, they have actually proven to be essential for our overall health. Saturated fats are vital for healthy brain and cell function, reduce free radicals, and boost immunity.

It is safe to say that trans fats are bad overall. Trans fats are artificially created and have been chemically altered to make the fat more solid. They are generally used in food for flavoring and preserving or increasing the shelf life. Most packaged foods that you see will have “No Trans Fats” somewhere on the label because of the proposed FDA ban that has resulted from the devastating effects it has on the human body.

Healthy Fats - avocado


Good fats:





Leafy greens


Coconut oil

Olive oil

Non-GMO nut butters

Unhealthy Fats - fries


Bad fats:

Heavily processed or genetically modified vegetable oils such as soy, canola, and corn

Partially hydrogenated oils




Fried foods


Related posts: What are GMO’s (genetically modified organisms)? Eliminating Processed Foods

What is your favorite healthy fat?

Hi there! I am Ashlee, a contributing writer for Whole Intentions, and wife and mother, who is an advocate of natural living. I am passionate about all things green and crunchy. Stop by my blog at Healthy Oil Mom to learn a bit more about me.

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