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For years, nutritionists and doctors

For years, nutritionists and doctors have preached that a low-fat diet is the key to losing weight and preventing health problems. However, not all fat is the same. While bad fats can wreck your diet and increase your risk of certain diseases, good fats protect your brain and heart. In fact, healthy fats—such as omega-3s—are vital to your physical and emotional health. Understanding how to include more healthy fat in your diet can help improve your mood, boost your well-being, and even trim your waistline.

Why are we so afraid of fat?

A walk down any grocery store aisle will confirm our obsession with low- and no-fat foods. We’re bombarded with supposedly guilt-free options: fat-free milk, cheese, and yoghurt, low-fat cookies, cakes, and frozen dinners. But while our low-fat options have exploded, so have obesity rates. Clearly, all these low-fat foods haven’t delivered on their trim, healthy promises.

The reason for that is simple: not all fat is bad. In fact, your body needs fat. Healthy or “good” fats are essential to help manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight. Since the human brain is nearly 60 percent fat, healthy fats are also vital for proper brain development and function.

Good fats vs. bad fats

There are four major types of dietary fat found in food from plants and animals:

Good: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3s)
Bad: trans fats
Open to debate: saturated fats
To label certain fats “good” and others “bad” can be a little simplistic. After all, it takes more than just the fat content of food to determine whether it’s healthy or unhealthy.

How food is raised or grown, how it’s prepared, and any additives used can make a huge difference to whether something is healthy or unhealthy. While some fish is packed with healthy omega-3 fats, for example, deep frying it in refined vegetable oil can add unhealthy trans fat, making it potentially harmful.
There’s an ongoing debate in the nutrition world about the merits and dangers of saturated fat and no clear consensus on exactly where it falls on the spectrum of good fats to bad.
While monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from whole foods are universally considered good fats, those from industrially manufactured oils are often considered dangerous.
Choosing healthy fats tip 1: Add more unsaturated fat to your diet

These good fats can improve blood cholesterol levels, lower your risk of heart disease, and benefit insulin levels and blood sugar. Omega-3 fats are particularly beneficial for your brain and mood. The best sources are fish, nuts, and seeds.

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