What’s the Difference Between Good Fat and Bad Fat?

Difference between good fat and bad fat

There’s trans fats, saturated fats, monosaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats… got all of those straight? It happens, no wonder this stuff can get confusing! Once you finally get the breakdown of the difference between good fat and bad fat it gets pretty easy! Get in the know!

Here’s the low down on this important issue

It’s a complex topic that has been made super complicated by the low-fat movement that started in the ’70s. For years, we have been inundated with reports that fatty foods (even healthy ones) make you fat.

However, it’s not fat that makes you fat at all. It’s your body’s inability to burn more calories than you ingest that makes you fat and that is far more involved than your dietary fat intake.

Luckily more and more research is being undertaken that shows that healthy fats can actually help you burn fat and are an important part of a healthy diet. The bigger issue in regards to weight gain is eating too many packaged foods, take-out meals, and drinking sodas and fruit juices.

These foods and drinks are packed with sugar and other nasty chemicals, none of which support your body in functioning optimally.

You see, fat is needed by our body and we cannot perform at our best without it.

Our bodies utilize fat for nerve transmission, cell membrane integrity, and nutrient absorption. They provide fatty acids, deliver fat-soluble vitamins to different parts of the body, help keep our skin healthy, and provide the fuel to energize our bodies.

That being said not all fats are created equal.

Some fats promote beneficial effects in our bodies while other fats increase the risks for heart diseases and other chronic diseases. The key is to learn what fats support and nourish your body and which fats to avoid!

Different Types of Fat

You may have heard the following terms used when describing fats so let’s quickly go through what each of them means (for a more thorough breakdown of each visit: Fat Jargon) – this will be vital when understanding the difference between good fat and bad fat:

Monosaturated Fats

What's the Difference Between Good Fat and Bad Fat?Monosaturated fats, also known as MUFAs, are mostly found in nuts such as peanuts, almonds, and pistachios. Avocados, olive oil, peanut oil, and sunflower oil also contain high levels of monosaturated fats.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats, also known as PUFAs, are mostly found in plant-based food and oils. These include the vegetable oils often found in packaged foods such as soybean oil, safflower oil, and canola oil.

Saturated Fats

This type of fat is mostly found in animal products such as meat and dairy as well as some plant-based sources such as food like coconut oil and other coconut products and palm oil.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are your hydrogenated oils that have been heavily processed and are found in packaged foods & take away.

The Good Fats

The following are examples of some healthy sources of fat that are important to add to your diet. Good fats not only keep you satiated for longer but can help to reduce sugar cravings and help keep your body in fat-burning mode. Try adding one of the following to each meal:

  • Avocados
  • Coconut products such as coconut oil and full-fat coconut milk
  • Grass-fed meat and butter
  • Fish oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Full fat organic raw dairy
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Raw nuts
  • Free-range eggs
  • Fish especially, salmon tuna & sardines
  • Hemp seeds

The Bad Fats

When it comes to the difference between good fat and bad fat, there are two main types of fat that you want to avoid and these are trans fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils.

These fats cause wide-spread inflammation within your body and can cause cell damage.

Most of these fats and oils are found in processed foods and therefore maintaining a whole foods-based diet is one of the best ways to make sure you are adding in all the good fats and avoiding the bad!

Highly processed vegetable oils cause hormone disruption, gut problems, weight gain, brain fog, and fatigue. From 1909 to 1993 vegetable oils consumption rose from 2g per person to more than 30g per person in the US. Over the same time, period obesity rates skyrocketed!

The quality of your meat purchased is also really important to the quality of the fats you are receiving from eating the meat. Remember toxins are stored in your fat cells and so toxins are also stored in the fat cells of the animals you are eating. Always purchase grass-fed organic or free-range animal products wherever possible.

Try to avoid where possible:

  • Fast food such as burgers, French fries, hot dogs, etc
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Most ice creams
  • Packaged processed foods
  • Margarine
  • Vegetable oil (extra virgin olive oil is ok)
  • Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated anything
  • Peanut oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseeds oil


Fat is such an important part of optimal cell health as well as an important food group for sustained energy levels.

Remember the food you eat is information for your cells and can have massive impacts on your health down the road. Just because you don’t have any symptoms of disease or dysfunction now, doesn’t mean that widespread inflammation isn’t causing havoc within your body.

So stick to whole food sources of fats and eat up! At the same time avoid processed foods where you can or check out your ingredients lists for the bad fats above.

There you go, now you know the difference between good fat and bad fat!