Good fat? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Yes and no. Good fat is essential to a healthy heart, developing soft, younger looking skin and for the storage and delivery of fat-soluble vitamins. Good fat also has many other health benefits when eaten in moderation. If you are on a weight loss journey, however, reducing all fat intake is recommended.

As most of us know, in order to lose weight, we must burn more calories than we take in. It's basic math, nothing too difficult. What many overlook is whether or not you’re eating good fat or bad fat, the caloric value is the same. The difference you want to take note of is the fat’s potential to promote good health or to harm it. If a regular diet recommends that 25% of your calories derive from fat, make sure it’s the good-for-you fat, and not the bad-for-you fat. That is the key. In other words, avoid the bad fats and keep the good fats, but keep them to a minimum. We cannot eliminate all fat from our diet; we need it for energy and other bodily functions.

So which fat is good for you and which is bad?

Unsaturated fats are the good fats and saturated and trans fats are the bad boys. In the unsaturated fat group are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats help lower both blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Omega 3’s, which are found in fatty fish, walnuts and flaxseed, are polyunsaturates and have been reported to have many heart health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fatty fish per week.

Polyunsaturated Fats

* Fish oils
* Soybean oil
* Safflower oil
* Sesame oil
* Salmon
* Mackerel
* Trout
* Palm oil, palm kernel oil and products
* Cottonseed oil
* Sunflower oil
* Nuts and seeds

Monounsaturated fats are reported to reduce the risk of heart disease and come loaded with Vitamin E and antioxidants. Vitamin E has been reported to aid in the reduction of cholesterol levels and protects cell membranes from damage.

Monounsaturated Fats

* Canola Oil
* Almond Oil
* Olive Oil
* Walnut Oil
* Peanut Oil
* Brazil Nuts
* Almonds
* Cashews
* Olives
* Peanut Butter

Although these fats are good for you, they should be eaten in moderation, particularly for those on a weight loss journey. I make it a rule to keep my total fat intake between 20 and 25% of my daily calories, and the majority of that percentage is from good fats.

Okay, now the bad boys. Saturated fats and Trans fat are known to clog arteries, increase the risk for heart disease and heighten cholesterol levels (the leading cause of strokes).

Saturated and Trans Fat

* Butter
* Meat
* Lard
* Poultry
* Poultry Skin
* Coconut Oil
* Partially Hydrogenated Oils
* Processed Foods (microwave popcorn, cookies, packaged snacks, etc.)
* High-fat Dairy Products

Although many foods may claim to have 0 Trans-fat, they can have up to 0.5 grams per serving in order to make that claim. If you eat several servings, you’ve ingested quite a bit of Trans fat. Be label wise. You would not give yourself, your children or others medication without first reading the label and the side effects. This should also be practiced when selecting foods as they too come with side-effects; sometimes deadly ones.

By significantly reducing your fat intake, you will be healthier, lose weight and feel great. It's recommended that you eat whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, non-fat dairy products, lean meats, olive or peanut oils and stay clear of the processed foods as much as possible. Keep your sugar intake to a minimum, exercise daily and drink plenty of water.

Most of us know the formula for a lean, healthy body and although putting it into practice may seem difficult at first, soon it becomes a lifestyle and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you lose the craving for unhealthy foods. For some of us, they become a complete turn off.

As cliché as this may sound – you are what you eat, or more accurately, you are the result of what you eat. Choose wisely, your life depends on it.

Author's Bio: 

Danielle Pierre is an entrepreneur, published author & certified life coach.

You can contact Danielle at