Good Fats vs Bad Fats {Myths and Facts on Fat}

A clear description of good fats and how to enjoy them in your diet!

Sometimes the real food journey becomes an adventure–what you’re learning excites you, the new foods you try are delicious, and your body’s response is immediate.

That’s what I experienced when I discovered the truth about good fats vs bad fats.

When I began to embrace the idea that our body actually needs fat to function well, and added good fats like whole dairy, coconut oil, and plenty of butter into my daily menu, I felt the results immediately! Cravings subsided as my body finally received the fuel it was craving. Losing my baby weight never became an issue. And, when I learned which fats were good for cooking, and which ones shouldn’t be overheated, I quit having gall bladder attacks! All this from adding something easy and tasty to my meals!

There’s a lot of confusion about fats, though–even among people who are making a genuine effort to make healthy choices. That’s why I made this infographic with everything I’ve learned about fats since starting my real food journey 6 years ago.  Take a close look at the myths in this graphic…

A clear description of good fats vs bad fats and how to enjoy them in your diet!

Myth #1: Fat is Bad

Truth: Fat is essential to our bodies functioning well! Your brain is 2/3 fat, your hormone system runs on fat, and your cells are comprised of 50% fat. If you’re doubtful of the importance of good, old fashioned saturated fat in your diet, you need to read The Skinny on Fat, and Good Fats, Bad Fats: Separating Fact from Fiction.

Myth #2: Vegetable Oil is a Healthy Fat

Truth: Turning a vegetable (often GMO corn or the toxic soybean) into an oil is a highly-involved process of bleaching, deodorizing, and treatment with chemicals. The resulting oils are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are linked to free radical damage and degenerative conditions like autoimmune disorders and Alzheimers.

Sorry, I got a little geeky on you there, but you need to know the truth: Vegetable Oils are NOT food, and are NEVER good for you.

Myth #3: We Should Limit Fat in our Diet

Truth: Actually, most of us aren’t getting enough fats! We need fats to assimilate certain vitamins, nourish our hormone system, and regulate blood sugar, among other things.

So, are you ready for this step–embracing good fats in your diet, and using them properly?

Taking the Good Fats Step on your real food journey is as simple as:

  1. Choosing good fats vs bad fats
  2. Enjoying whole-fat dairy products
  3. Remembering which oils like heat and which ones don’t

Further Facts on Fat:

Now, go enjoy some bread with your butter! (And your veggies, and your meat, and your grains…!)

Tomorrow in our 31 day series Your Real Food Journey, we’re talking about how to afford grass fed beef! Subscribe so you don’t miss a post in this series that’s all about helping you make little bits of yummy progress toward more real food!

Did you learn anything new in this post? I’ll tell you a secret–I only just learned about not using olive oil in high heat situations this past year! How about you? 

27 responses to “Good Fats vs Bad Fats {Myths and Facts on Fat}”

  1. Brittany Avatar
    Brittany

    Trina,
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this! I have been confused for a long while about what oils are safe and when. I am totally horrified because I have been preparing meals almost exclusively with EVOO for years! I suppose this would be a good self-application of “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” 🙂 . Going forward, how do you recommend preparing things like meat and veggies on the stovetop? I do a lot of meals with cubed chicken, ground beef and ground turkey…not really things I’d want to end up tasting like coconut.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Brittany, I use butter, bacon grease, saved chicken fat, or the coconut oil that I mentioned on instagram that is more refined so it doesn’t have the coconutty flavor. And yes, no condemnation!!! I used EVOO for years, too. My gall bladder was thankful for the switch to saturated fats when cooking! 😉

  2. Kathy Dale Avatar
    Kathy Dale

    Very interesting

  3. Kellie Avatar
    Kellie

    How about Avocado Oil?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Kellie, I haven’t tried it, but if it’s gently processed, I know that’s a good one.

  4. […] into what fats would be best for me to feed my family, I struggled to make sense of some of the myths surrounding fat that are so pervasive in our […]

  5. Garrett Avatar
    Garrett

    Hi Trina,

    I’d love for you to add in for people to be looking for organic GRASS FED butter. It contains a lot of beneficial things for your body and brain, which grain fed does not include. Check out Dave Asprey and his Bulletproof Diet website, where he explains the benefits of organic grass fed butter. It really is leagues ahead of regular butter 🙂

    And it’s awesome in organic coffee, with MCT oil!

  6. Deb Weaver Avatar

    Trina,
    Recently I’ve had to make some radical changes in my choices for health reasons. I’m on a low cholesterol, low sugar diet and trying to exercise daily. I read that Safflower Oil is a “good” fat. Have you had experience with this? Not sure if I should heat it or not.

    Deb Weaver
    thewordweaver.com

  7. Melanie Avatar
    Melanie

    I just wanted to pop in and say, I’m so glad you are doing this series! I’m learning so much. I love the infographic, too. I had no clue that certain oils/fats should be used for frying and certain ones should not. I’ll be changing some things because of that!

    Also, I have to add that I LOVE butter! I actually sometimes eat a pat all by itself. I never feel a twinge of guilt after learning about good fats/bad fats.

    Are you going to write more about the benefits of choosing better quality dairy? The price for raw or low-heat pasteurization dairy products makes me want to choke sometimes. Also, raw dairy isn’t legal to sell in our state, so how would I even find it?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Melanie, I’m working on the dairy post for next week–I’ve so been there with the unavailability of raw milk, and look forward to sharing how we cope.

  8. Stephie N Avatar
    Stephie N

    What would you suggest for eggs over easy? It truly is about half of the protein that my kids get because while they LOVE their veggies, they really aren’t meat fans, I have tried butter and had awful results because I cook in cast iron. I have a hard time remembering all of those things especially when I use olive oil instead of toxic cooking sprays!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Hmmm…I always cook my eggs in butter (or, the rare treat, bacon grease!) Is your pan well seasoned? Are you cooking it to hot? I actually don’t do eggs over easy very often, we love ’em scrambled…but that pan has got to be well seasoned for either!

      1. Stephie N Avatar
        Stephie N

        The pans are really finicky, but they are definitely well seasoned, we make scrambled eggs and they don’t stick really except for maybe a couple spots, maybe I just have a hard time with the amount I have to use for those kinds of eggs, they are my kids(and husbands) favorites so we make them at least 3 times a week, do you think over eat would be low enough a temp to not worry too much? I had been parting them of before serving because I read your original fat post, but I thought maybe you had some suggestions

        1. Trina Avatar

          OK, I’ll go ahead and confess…I rarely ever make over easy eggs…because I’m a perfectionist AND not gifted in the egg frying arena. It’s scrambled for us unless my husband’s cooking. lol

    2. Chrispy Avatar
      Chrispy

      Stephanie, we use cast iron and cook eggs over easy. I put about a tablespoon of lard or tallow in the pan, heat it til I can feel heat coming off the pan, crack the egg into the melted oil pool, once set on the edges I rotate the pan since my stove leans as bit to a spot with room for the egg and the excess oil follows me over, I repeat. By the time I have 3 eggs set then I can flip the first and once all 3 have been flipped its time to serve. I became obsessed with this kind of egg during my last pregnancy.

  9. Beth @ Turn2theSimple Avatar

    I totally agree with you on healthy fats! Any good way to know when we are getting enough?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Well, that is a good question, Beth–I’m really not sure. It might be a kinda instinctual thing…if I’m craving butter, I guess I need more. But for the most part, I think that when I’m being liberal (instead of fearful) of fats in my every day cooking and eating, I’m getting enough.

  10. Jess White Avatar

    My mom gave me a copy of Woman’s Daily {or something} and I always look on the back page of a magazine first. They had a recipe for healthy muffins, from a cancer survivor who has chosen to eat healthier: The recipe had all fats removed, but kept sugar as one of the MAIN ingredients. I was dumbfounded.

    We have such a myth about fats in our world! We love our butter, coconut oil, and lard. My husband has actually taking to rendering the beef fat from the grass fed cow we got this fall. It’s delicious!

    1. Trina Avatar

      dumbfounded. yes. those kinda articles grieve me!

      OK, rendered grass fed tallow is SO on my list…I’m so inspired (read: jealous! lol)

  11. shannon coe Avatar

    I love this infographic! I have had a hard time getting in enough coconut oil on a daily basis. This morning I tried this and it is completely doable for me from now on: hot cup of steeped tea, dump into blender, add tablespoon coconut oil, some stevia, and I added bit of pumpkin creamer. Emulisifed it. It was fantastic.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Mmm, that does sound good, Shannon! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
      I usually put a few Tablespoons in our morning smoothie, and bake with coconut oil regularly, and people would gasp at how much butter I used daily. lol I love fat!! 😉

  12. Mandy @MandyJHoffman Avatar

    Okay, so when you said “gall bladder” I was like “WHAT????????” I struggle with gall bladder issues ALL the time and have refused to have it removed. I don’t have time to read up extensively about all this now & it’s connection with my GB, but really quickly are you saying that using olive oil to fry veggies with is NOT a good thing? So a simple step I can take right now is to use olive oil when it’s NOT being heated and butter for when I do heat something up? Is that correct…and is that a good baby step into this area? Or is there something else that I should do first in this area?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Yup, Mandy–that’s exactly what I’m saying! I quit having gall bladder attacks when I quit frying in Olive oil. I know that’s a real common practice, but light sauteing or short baking times is all that olive oil can handle without becoming difficult to digest. Fats go straight the liver to be dealt with, and if we’re not eating the right fats in the right way, it can over burden our poor gall bladder. I would also highly recommend finding a digestive enzyme that contains lipase, which is the enzyme that helps you digest fat. Taking this with meals can help your body handle fats, as well. There is relief, and it may be a simple as switching what you fry in! I love frying in butter, or especially a cheaper coconut oil that doesn’t exactly taste like coconut–that’s my go-to these days for frying. And it’s so yummy! (and cheaper than a quality olive oil!)

      1. Stephanie Avatar
        Stephanie

        That is amazing! I always thought that olive oil was ok for frying and baking. I love CO but don’t get enough. I knew I loved butter! Now I wont feel bad using it! I do wonder though, I make chicken in various pre packaged seasoning mixes that call for oil and then it all sits in the fridge for a bit before baking. For something like that, what kind of oil would you reccomend?

        1. Trina Avatar

          Stephanie, I’ve been challenged to convert certain techniques over with my new fat preferences, as well. One of my solutions which I use for marinades that call for olive oil is to combine all the other ingredients, put them over the meat, and refrigerate, and then when I pull the meat out to grill or bake it, I add the melted coconut oil at that point. Experiment and tell me how it goes!

          1. Chrispy Avatar
            Chrispy

            Wow awesome fix for marinades. I’d been using cold pressed safflower instead, but really want to stop.

            If its not a marinade but gets heated, I have started melting some grass fed tallow that I render each year. Make so much I can’t use it all. I have an entire shelf of rendered tallow and lard….the lard I get for free from a farmer.

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