Good fats vs bad fats

Good fats vs bad fats


One of the first things people cut out why trying to lose weight is fats, but there are so many fats and oils out there and some are essential to our diet and are actually good for us. Here is some information to help you pick and avoid the fats that are good and bad for you.

There are 4 main groups of fats:

·         Saturated Fats

·         Monounsaturated Fats

·         Polyunsaturated Fats

·         Trans Fats

Saturated fats

Sources of Saturated fats



Non Animal

Meat- Beef, Pork, Lamb

Palm Oil

Poultry- Chicken, Duck

Coconut Oil

Dairy- Milk, Cheese, Yoghurt, Cream, Butter





Saturated fats have had a pretty hard time in the press over the years as they have been blamed as a cause of coronary heart disease. Recent research has shown that the original studies may have been misinterpreted and misrepresented. Studies have now stated that fat found in the artery walls of coronary heart disease patients are made up of 26% saturated fat and the rest is unsaturated or predominantly plant based.

Benefits of saturated fats are:

·         Enhancement of the immune system

·         Enhancement of liver function as it helps protect against the effects of alcohol

·         Great source of energy

Unsaturated Fats are split into two groups, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats.


Monounsaturated Fats



Sources of Monounsaturated Fats

Avocado oil

Olive Oil

Hazel nuts



Peanut Oil

Rapeseed oil

Canola Oil


Monounsaturated fats are thought to lower the risk of coronary heart disease, which is the reason the adverts at the moment are trying to get us to represent a Mediterranean diet. Even though these fats are good for us be careful how much of these you eat as they make up the largest part of our body fat, comprising 52%.


Polyunsaturated Fats

These are split into two groups.


Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 6 fatty acids

Oily fish and cod liver oil

Sunflower oil and seeds

Falxseeds and Oil

Corn and soybean oil


Safflower oil

Pasture reared eggs

Pumpkin seeds


Sesame oil and seeds


These are also known as essential fatty acids as they are essential to our diet, as our body cannot synthesise them itself. These fatty acids are needed for the functioning of our cells and must be eaten in the required amounts to promote good health.  A ratio of 1:2 or 2:1 of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids should be consumed. Over eating of omega 6 in the modern diet has been shown to increase cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Omega 3 fatty acids are very beneficial to us as they reduce the tendency of blood to clot lower total cholesterol and raise levels of HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol and can lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Trans Fats

These are the bad ones and are not good for you on any level. They are 100% man made unsaturated fats. Our bodies do not recognise the structure of these fatty acids and therefore cannot utilise them. These are responsible for coronary heart disease and some experts believe that trans fats are closer in structure to plastic than fat! Common foods that contain trans fats are:


Many Margarine’s





Pre-prepared foods


Many “low fat” processed foods. (Low in saturated fat but high in trans fat

Take away foods



Many food manufactures make out their products are healthy and good for us are they are low in saturated fat, as we have been made to think these are bad for us through the media. These “healthier options” are actually full of trans fats, which can be labelled unsaturated. If you are looking to lose weight steer clear of these as our bodies cannot utilise them and they become stored as body fat. It is much better to go for the full fat option as it contains natural nutrients that our body needs and they taste better, so it’s a win win situation.


This is something to think about when reaching for the margarine instead of the butter next time in the supermarket. This is how margarine is produced.

1.       They start are natural vegetable oils, Soy beans, corn sunflower or rapeseeds

2.       Oils are extracted by high temperature and pressure

3.       Remaining fraction of oils removed with hexane and other solvents

4.       Oils are now rancid, they are steam cleaned to remove all vitamins and anti-oxidants, but the pesticides and solvents remain

5.       Oils are mixed with a nickel catalyst

6.       Oils with the catalyst are subjected to hydrodegn gas in a high-pressure, high temperature reactor

7.       Soap like emulsifiers are mixed in

8.       Oils steam cleansed to remove the horrible odour

9.       They are now grey in colour, so are bleached

10.   Artificial colours, synthetic vitamins and natural colour are added

11.   Mixture is packaged in tubs and advertised as a health food

I never go near margarine, full butter all the way for me.


So in summary, stay clear of anything that contains trans fats and eat a good balance of saturated, mono and polyunsaturated fats.