All Fats Aren’t Equal – “Good” Versus “Bad” Fats

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The Body Needs Fat

Fats are essential to any diet because they help support bodily functions and overall health such as maintaining a stable body frame and organ functions. Studies show the importance of fats in the human body, but they have also noted numerous dangers associated with an excess intake of particular types of fats. Although the human body needs fats to properly function, close monitoring is essential to ensure that the right types of fats are consumed.

The keto diet allows for high fat intake, dipping the body into a mild state of ketoacidosis, a metabolic state, between meals. The diet focuses on getting more calories from fats, literally turning the body into a fat-burning machine by forcing the human body to burn fats instead of carbs. The ketogenic diet can become unhealthy if a person overconsumes the wrong type of fat. Therefore, an individual needs to understand the differences between the different types of fats in order to stay healthy.

In this blog post, we’ll examine the different types of fats, delineating which are “good” and which are “bad.” Getting the correct balance of essential fats helps the human body thrive for a long time while keeping away excess weight.

Differences Between Saturated, Unsaturated, and Trans Fats

The three main types of fats are saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats, forms that are included in many of the foods we eat daily.

Saturated fats are composed of fatty acid chains that have a majority of single bonds in their formation. The saturated fats are solid at room temperature, mainly come from animal food products, but are also found in some types of vegetables. Saturated fats increase the body’s cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol in the body are dangerous, leading to several conditions such as cardiovascular-related diseases. The healthy limit for saturated fats is 10% of daily calorie intake, limited even more for people with cardiovascular-related ailments, according to MedlinePlus. Some keto-friendly foods rich in saturated fats include fatty cuts of meat, lard, butter, and some types of processed meat.

Unsaturated fats compositions have a high-fat concentrate and are liquid at room temperature. The structure of unsaturated fats composes of at least one double bond, making it healthier in comparison to saturated fats. Unsaturated fats fall into two main classes, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They aid in lowering the body’s low-density lipoproteins (“bad” LDL cholesterol), thereby reducing the risk of congenital diseases. Monounsaturated fats occur mostly in plant oils, while polyunsaturated fats occur in plant foods and some fish oils. Normal nutritional guidelines for unsaturated fats are between 25 to 30 percent of the daily calories from fats, according to MedlinePlus. Although it’s considered a healthy fat, there’s still a need to regulate its intake, as shown at WebMD.

There’s evidence that polyunsaturated fat can help a person achieve ketosis faster than saturated fat. A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism finds that a short-term keto diet higher in consumption of polyunsaturated fats “induces a greater level of ketosis and improves [insulin sensitivity].” The experiment also observes that cholesterol levels aren’t adversely impacted when compared to a keto diet high in saturated fats.

Most of the food labels list the levels of fats on their ingredients under total fats. It is, therefore, possible to know the level of unsaturated fats in a particular food by checking the ingredients level. Keto-friendly foods rich in unsaturated fats include avocados, several types of plant and fish oils, nuts, and seeds.

Trans fats, also known as trans-unsaturated fatty acids, occur primarily in some meat and dairy products. Large amounts of trans-fats currently in consumption are a result of an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, transforming it to be solid at room temperature. Most medical professionals regard trans fats as the worst type of fats for consumption. A study by the American Heart Association shows that trans fats raise the body’s “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels and lowers the standards of the “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels.

Trans fats pose a more severe health risk compared to saturated fats in the diet. While studies show that saturated fats increase the levels of LDL cholesterol, trans fats affect both HDL and LDL, resulting in higher risk on an individual’s health, as shown at heart foundation. Foods rich in trans fats include fried foods and baked foods that use vegetable oil in their preparation. Most prepared foods indicate the level of trans fats on nutrition labels.

An LCHF diet can be healthy, but it is essential to indulge in “good fats” and reduce “bad fats.” Fats are necessary to promote overall health, but it’s important to know the differences between them in order to eat the right foods.

KetoFoodist Content provides this content to help keto diet practitioners and is intended for educational purposes only. It is recommended that you consult with a medical professional prior to starting any diet or following product suggestions.