- Scripps Health
The secrets of healthy fats
Get the facts about good fats and bad fats
About half of American adults have one or more preventable, diet-related chronic diseases, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This includes cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Poor eating habits and lack of physical activity are largely to blame for this dire trend.
Simply cutting out or reducing fats in your diet is not the answer, however. Rather, it’s the type of fat that you vanish and the type of fat you replace it with that can make a big difference in your diet and overall health, according to the Dietary Guidelines.
“We need fats in our diet for energy and to support cell growth, but some types are healthier than others,” says Samar Rashid, DO, a family medicine specialist at Scripps Clinic Liberty Station.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the majority of fats in your diet should be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, better known as the good fats.
“Eat foods containing monounsaturated fats and/or polyunsaturated fats instead of foods that contain saturated fats and/or trans fats or the bad fats,” Dr. Rashid says.
Monounsaturated fats eaten in moderation can have a beneficial effect on your heart. They can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Oils rich in monounsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.