Fats can be categorized in one of three ways – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
A good fat is one that exists naturally in plants and animals, is healthy to consume, and is essential to our health.
Examples would be: avocados, butter (preferably raw and organic), extra virgin coconut oil, palm oil, fish and fish oils, cod liver oil, eggs, olives and extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, and even the saturated fat in organic, raw milk dairy products, and finally, lean, grass-fed organic beef.
A bad fat is one that, although it may exist naturally in plants and animals, has been molecularly altered and damaged by high heat or processing, or by feeding the animals an unnatural diet, which, in turn, alters their body fat composition.
Examples would be: canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, corn oil, “vegetable” oil, cottonseed oil, non-organic pasteurized dairy products, meats from conventionally raised beef, pork, and chicken (eggs also). Farm-raised fish also have unnatural ratios of fats.
An ugly fat (also called a trans-fat) is a chemically-altered fat that is made in a laboratory, usually from the bad fats, and does NOT exist in nature. Another name for trans-fat is hydrogenated oil, or partially hydrogenated oil. You want to run screaming from these fats, and we are going to learn why in this future post.
Examples of ugly fats are: Crisco, vegetable shortenings, margarines, hydrogenated oils, and partially hydrogenated oils (usually stated on labels). These can be found in chips, crackers, cookies, breads, pastries, muffins, pancake mixes, biscuits, pizza dough, frozen foods, soups, sauces, GIRL SCOUT COOKIES, are you getting the picture? They can be found in most packaged foods.
Good fats are typically saturated fats, which may be the opposite of what you have heard previously. What makes a saturated fat good is the fact that they are stable; to learn what makes a fat stable or unstable, we need to dive into the chemistry of fats in our next post.