What are Good and Bad Fats? Everything You Need to Know

By Ritika Samaddar in Dietetics

Apr 06 , 2015 | 2 min read

Know the benefits of adding good fats to your diet and avoiding the bad ones.

The human body needs fat to provide energy and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Certain fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids and hence need to be consumed.

Our body produces two types of cholesterol LDL and HDL. LDL is the bad cholesterol which causes clogging of the arteries and heart disease while HDL is the good fat which helps cleanse the arteries and protect against heart disease. The risk of various lifestyle diseases is inevitably elevated if bad fats are included in one’s diet. It is essential to know that more than the amount of fat being consumed, keeping a check on the type of fat you eat, makes all the difference.

This, in addition to generally eating healthy and exercising regularly, keeps the LDL levels low and HDL levels high. Hence, consuming source of good fat like omega-3 fats, Alpha linolenic acid or n3, reduces LDL, increases HDL, and reduces triglycerides in addition to improving the body’s ability to manage body weight and metabolism. Checkout the 7-day diet plan to lower triglycerides.

MUFAs are monounsaturated fatty acids, plant-based fats. It is found in some of the foods such as avocado, nuts and seeds, oils, olives, and dark chocolate etc

MUFA also reduces LDL, triglycerides and also gives a good glycemic control which enhance heart health and provide protection against chronic diseasec

Following simple yet effective steps may help you to get the right fats in your diet:

  • Keep total fat intake between 20 to 35 percent of calories.
  • Include MUFA and Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet. Good sources of these fatty acids are canola oil and salmon.
  • To keep fats low, use slim milk, egg whites, plain yogurt etc. Omega 3 is not naturally produced by the human body and hence must be consumed.
  • Other sources of mono-unsaturated fats are nuts and seeds. These fats may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering bad LDL cholesterol and controlling blood sugar.
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat, per day. These fats raise your blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart diseases.
  • Avoid trans-fat or limit it to 1% of your daily intake of calories. Trans-fat increases the risk of heart diseases in two ways It raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol levels.
  • Trans fat can be avoided easily – by putting fried foods, biscuits, chips and other similar junk food on your 'skip' list, avoiding fast foods, checking food labels for trans-fat, avoiding partially hydrogenated oils like vanaspati.
  • Avoid dietary fats that increase cholesterol. This includes avoiding foods such as butter, cheese, red meat, cream, egg yolks, sour cream etc.

Checkout the How To Reduce Triglycerides.