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Not all fats are the same, know which fats you need and which fats you should avoid

The foods we eat have been stereotyped and like lemmings we continue to believe the oversimplified ideas given to us by outdated studies. In this article I hope to change the way you look at the foods you eat when determining what is good for you and what is bad for you, specifically fat.

Despite what my mom tells me, fats are not bad for you. In fact, your body needs fat, but before you challenge Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi to a hot dog eating contest, keep in mind that moderation is key and not all fats were created equally. Let’s start with the benefits of fat and keep in mind I am talking about good fats. Your body needs fat to deliver vitamins A, D, E, and K into and around the body. Fat provides your body with the essential fatty acids that it can’t produce on it’s own. Fat promotes healthy skin and eyes, brain and muscle development, reproductive health, a stronger immune system, and would you believe it even helps with fat loss?!?! There are plenty more benefits, but I think you get the point. Like I mentioned earlier, these are the benefits of good fats and not all fats are the same.

Fats can be broken down into 5 different types: monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, omega-3 fatty acids, saturated fat, and trans fat. The last two, saturated fat and trans fat have been linked with heart disease and stroke. Saturated fat usually comes from red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy. Trans fat typically comes from oils processed from a method called partial hydrogenation so they would be easier to cook with and have a longer shelf life compared to natural fats. Crisco and margarine are examples of this. However, further studies are showing that saturated fats are not as bad as previously thought.

A few bad apples gave the rest of the group a bad name.  The link to saturated fats and heart disease really came from the consumption of processed meats which happen to be high in saturated fat. This means you should lay off meats like hot dogs, pepperoni, SPAM, and grain-fed livestock. Grain-fed animals are grouped in here because the highly processed feed given to them with the addition of hormones essentially makes processed as well. The saying “you are what you eat” applies to animals as well. So feel free to eat the whole egg, butter your bread, go chomp on some grass-fed beef, and fry up some bacon. Just remember to keep it in moderation and eat your veggies.