Good and Bad Fat
Certain kinds of fat in our diet are essential to good health. And eating the proper type of fat can help our vision too.
The “good” fats are called essential fatty acids (EFAs), and they are necessary in our diet because our body can't produce them on its own. To remain healthy we must get them from the food we eat.
Trans fatty acids and saturated fat are considered “bad” fats. Trans fats are created when liquid oils are turned into solid fats, like shortening and margarine, through a process of emulsification. Saturated fat occurs naturally in meats, dairy products and tropical oils, such as palm and coconut oil. Unfortunately, saturated and trans fats are found in many popular fast food options like baked goods, potato chips, hamburgers, tacos and pizza. Evidence shows the “bad” fats are responsible for raising our cholesterol and making us more susceptible to chronic inflammation.
Two types of EFAs are omega-3 fatty acids (which occur in foods like cold-water fish and flaxseed) and omega-6 fatty acids (found in meat, dairy, eggs, baked goods, cereals, nuts and most vegetable oils). Both are important for good health; however, our Western diet typified by the consumption of large quantities of meat and processed foods, contains a very large amount of omega-6 fatty acids – not to mention all of the saturated and trans fats that come with these foods. The problem with the “good” fats that we eat, therefore, lies in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
The Studies Say …
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