Posted on by Teri Cochrane
Fat can get a bad rap. But as more and more research shows, there are good fats, fats that maintain health, and bad fats, fats that can damage health. “Good fats” can be largely defined as unsaturated fats – meaning fats that have double bonds in the fatty acid chain. These kinds of fats tend to be stable at room temperature and melt with heat, and have been linked to improved heart health, gut and brain function, better cholesterol levels, and lower levels of inflammation.
Some “good fats” to try:
- Olive oil
- Oily fish
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Whole eggs
“Bad” fats are the opposite side of the same coin. These tend to be classed as “saturated” and trans fats – meaning fats that lack double bonds in the fatty acid chain. In some cases, healthy fats can even convert to trans fat. These fats are often found in inflamed animal and hormone-laden dairy products and have been shown to increase inflammatory response and elevate LDL (bad) cholesterol, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. These fats also tend to deposit in the body as middle-belly fat – the no. 1 marker for heart disease.
Some “bad fats” to limit or steer clear of:
- Fatty domesticated meats like beef and pork
- Fried foods
- Palm oils
- Commercially baked cakes and pastries*
I also advise my clients to avoid processed sugars, as these can overburden the liver, which, when overtaxed, converts them to fat.
Over time, a diet high in bad fats can lead to leptin resistance. The brain receives disrupted signals from the starvation hormone, leptin, telling it that the body is in an energy deficit when in fact, there is an oversaturation of calories and fats. This particular hormonal imbalance has been deeply linked to cases of obesity.
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