Good and bad fat

So my friend Tom the other day asked me something. “Pete is it true that there is good and bad fat? Surely all fat is bad?”

2015-06-19 11.43.14So I thought I’d set the record straight about some myths and misconceptions about fat.

Yes fat is more calorific than protein or carbohydrates. 1g=9kcals opposed to protein and carbs being 4kcals.

So let’s start with the Good fats…

These come under the category of Unsaturated fats and there are 2 types. These fats are beneficial as they improve blood cholesterol levels, help with inflammation and can also stabilise heart rhythms. The 2 fats are….

  1. Monounsaturated- generally found in olive oil, peanuts, canola oil, seeds and avocados.
  2. Polyunsaturated- sunflower, corn and flaxseed oil, fish, flax seeds.


Now omega 3 are very important types of polyunsaturated fat. However the body can’t produce this so we need to get omega 3 from food.

avocado-on-a-wooden-tableEating oily fish 2-3 times a week, eating flax seed, walnut oil or soybean oil.

Bottom line.. People don’t eat enough healthy fat in their diet. Polyunsaturated fat alone should be 15% of your daily calories.

Now the bad fats…

Saturated and Trans Fats.

Saturated fats generally come from animal products such as red meat, cheese and cream. However there are a few exceptions with foods that don’t come from animal products such as coconut, palm and palm kernel oils.

US guidelines recommend less than 10% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat.

My own personal tip is when looking at an ingredients list, have a look at the fat content, if the saturated fat total is more than one third of the total fat. Don’t buy it.

Examples of foods that have saturated fat are, pizza, cheese, desserts, sausages, bacon etc.

Now for the worst of all.. Trans Fats.

2015-06-18-06.32.35Trans fatty acids more commonly called Trans fats. These are made by heating vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas. This makes the oil become a solid which then can be used in ingredients to last longer.

Examples of foods with Trans Fats are generally used in the restaurant industry for frying, cooking baked goods and margarine and processed snacks. Your treats like donuts, fries, sausage rolls, biscuits etc is full of this and should be avoided at all cost.

Bottom line. Understand what you are putting in your mouth. Learn the different types of fat. If you are going to have Saturated or Trans do it in the guidelines. The key to any successful diet is moderation and control.

Good luck!