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Good Fats vs Bad Fats

By Scaron

February is American Heart Month. What better time to talk about good fats vs. bad fats?

I don’t know about you, but I find the whole good fat-bad fat thing confusing. Every time I think I have the rules of good fats vs. bad fats down, I read something new – a snippet of research or new theory – and my whole idea of what a good fat is gets turned topsy-turvy.

Heck, just when I was sitting down to write this, I read a new article on Culinate that did just that. Apparently saturated and monounsaturated fats are in, polyunsaturated and trans fats out. Fine, but isn’t that different than what we learned in the 90s? And is it true?

According to that article, butter is in, canola oil out, coconut oil in, vegetable oil out. Am I the only one who feels like they can’t keep up?

Honestly, I want to follow a trusted source for this information – even if perhaps the recommendations may change in the future. Who knows, maybe they will since the Culinate article resonated as well-researched and thought-out. In the meantime, I decided to consult the American Heart Association for their latest recommendations.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Your body needs fat to function in a healthy manner, so giving up fats isn’t a solution. Fats are used for energy, cell growth, protecting organs and more.

  • The AHA still says that saturated fats and transfats are the “bad fats” that can raise cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are the “better fats.”

  • Fats should be consumed in moderation, and as part of a healthy diet.

  • All fats have the same amount of calories per gram.

  • Good fats can be found in foods like avocado, nuts and oily fish like salmon.

  • It’s a good idea to have seafood at least twice a week, since it has healthy fats.

Another thing the AHA recommends is trading whole eggs for egg whites. While I love eggs over easy and poached, having egg-white omelets is a perfectly enjoyable experience too. My Spinach and Cheddar Egg White Omelet has quickly become a favorite morning meal.

The sharp cheddar delivers lots of flavor and the spinach not only tastes good, but adds a veggie to my breakfast meal.


Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger who writes about family-friendly foods and raising a healthy family at Sarah’s Cucina Bella.

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