Good Fats vs. Bad Fats: Our Guide to Paleo Fats

Paleo On The Go

Posted on December 16 2015

We want you to know everything there is to know about fats! In this guide, you will learn the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about fats! We will explain the health benefits of fat, and why these essential-to-life nutrients should not be avoided! You will learn a great deal about fats in this piece, and we hope you will spread the word...DON’T FEAR FAT!

About Fats:

  • Compose about 15% of our body weight.

  • Provide a concentrated source of energy in our diet

  • A fairly high percentage of good fats are required for optimum health

  • Make up cell membranes

  • Are necessary for healthy liver function: help to build healthy cholesterol and bile

  • Are required for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K

  • Are required for adequate use of proteins

  • Serve as protective linings for the organs of the body

  • Play a role in slowing absorption of food for proper energy regulation

  • Are imperative to managing inflammatory processes

  • Make food taste good

  • Are building blocks for every cell membrane in the body

Healthy fatty acid deficiency is an epidemic associated with:

  • Musculoskeletal issues

  • Endocrine issues

  • Immune issues (such as autoimmune disease)

  • Allergies, skin problems and depression

What Are The Different Types of Fats (good fats vs. bad fats)?

Saturated Fats:

butter - saturated fats
  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.

  • Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, these are the most beneficial fats for our body. These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils).

  • These fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid.

  • Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, suet, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil.

  • Saturated fats are beneficial to the body-these fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help regulate hormones.

Monounsaturated Fats (aka MUFA’s):

black and green olives - monounsaturated fats
  • Monounsaturated fats have one double bond in the fatty acid chain.

  • Monounsaturated fats have a lower melting point than saturated fats, but a higher melting point than polyunsaturated fats.

  • Monounsaturated fats can go rancid/breakdown/oxidize easier than saturated fats.

  • If consumed in an oxidative state, these oils can cause inflammation in the body. Therefore you would only want to use these oils for low to no heat and cold uses, and make sure you purchase cold-pressed oils.

  • You would want to store them in a dark place.

  • Monounsaturated fats include olive oil and avocado oil.

  • Monounsaturated fats also make up part of the fats in meats (another reason not to overcook or burn meats), and are found in some nuts like macadamia nuts.

Polyunsaturated Fats (aka PUFA’s):

vegetable oils - polyunsaturated fats
  • Poly (many) of the bonds are unsaturated with hydrogen; meaning the double bond takes the place of where the hydrogen would be

  • Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator.

  • Polyunsaturated oils include: vegetable oils and industrial seed oils, such canola, corn, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and safflower.

  • Polyunsaturated oils are highly processed.

  • These polyunsaturated seed oils are very high in omega 6 fatty acids and low in omega 3’s.

  • Heat, light, and oxygen break these oils down and render them chemically unstable. The volatile chemical structure (from the process of being heat extracted releasing free-radicals) can wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level, and cause chronic inflammation…the root of modern diseases.

  • These oils are not stable.

  • Contrary to what you might have heard, these oils should be avoided! It is not easy to avoid them when you go out to eat, but don’t buy them! These oils are also found in packaged processed foods like potato chips-including those you buy at the “health food” store.

These oils should be avoided!

  • hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, highly processed vegetable oils-all very unstable and cause inflammation. Avoid supermarket oils in clear plastic bottles shelved under bright lights and not refrigerated.

What about Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s?

dead fish - omegas
  • Omega 6 fatty acids tends to be pro-inflammatory, Omega 3 anti-inflammatory-both are needed to keep the body regulated or in homeostasis.

  • Omega 6 to omega 3 should be 1:1

  • You need a mixture of healthy fatty acids in your diet to maintain optimal health

  • The Standard American Diet (SAD) is very high in Omega 6 fatty acids (mainly found in liquid PUFA oils), and very low in Omega 3. Therefore many Americans are in a constant inflamed state!

  • Fats from fish,grass-fed butter, and grass-fed beef are high in omega 3 fatty acids.

Did you know?

Did you know that bacon fat is mostly monounsaturated fat? It does have some saturated fat as well. However, you don’t want to burn bacon, or re-cook with the bacon fat at high temperatures. This oil can oxidize as well!

Did you know that humans have been eating saturated fats for hundreds of thousands of years?

These fats were demonized a few decades ago (based on flawed research) and claimed to cause heart disease, but new data shows that to be completely false!

Did you know that cholesterol is absolutely vital to life? Every cell in our body is loaded with it. It is used to make hormones like cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen. Without cholesterol we would die.

Did you know that saturated fats like butter and coconut oil are the best options when you need to cook high heat? These fats are solid at room temperature, and do not oxidize as quickly as liquid (polyunsaturated) oils do.

Did you know that eating fat does not make you fat? When the fat you consume comes from processed foods, and contains processed (fake) fats, our body has a hard time getting any nutrients. Therefore we are always craving more. Processed foods are addictive. We are essentially starving our body of nutrients, yet still hungry. We gain weight and crave more. Eating these kind of packaged, processed, sugary, fats can make it difficult to control how much you eat, and therefore can contribute to weight gain. There is no accurate hunger cues, because it’s all cravings. However, when we stick with real food and natural fats, we become more in tune with our body and tend to eat when we are hungry, stop when we are full. The cravings for processed foods diminish over time. The quality fats we consume become a source of energy for our body, and are not stored as fat.

In conclusion, it is our hope that you stop fearing healthy fats, and include them in your diet. Healthy fats make healthy hormones. Healthy hormones means healthy mood! Your skin, hair, nails, organs, and entire body will thank you! Stick with real food, with natural fats. Here at Paleo On The Go, all our food is made with real, unprocessed, healthy fats. If you don’t enjoy cooking, let us do the cooking for you!

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