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Fats: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Written by mindbodygreen

If you want to live in a body that is healthy and full of energy, the types of fat you choose to eat and cook with are crucial.

I’m not just talking about nixing fried fats here, although that is extremely important. There are also seemingly healthy fats that can become a huge burden on your body in terms of digestion and toxicity that you might not be aware of.

I’m going to break down for you here which fats are going to help you live lean, light and free of illness, and which will contribute to weight gain, sluggishness and unpleasant symptoms.


These are the shining stars of the world of fats and can be enjoyed daily.

  • Avocados - The perfect fat for the body. These guys are 70% water and are so easy to digest. You can enjoy avocado every day and know that you are getting great nutrition while digesting seamlessly (if eaten in the right food combination – focus on any vegetables and/or starches with your avocado) and still hydrating the body. Avocado is definitely the fat of choice for a slim, beautiful, energetic body!
  • Olives – Also easy to digest provided they are not marinated in poor quality oils like canola or vegetable oil. Aim for olives in water, brine or good quality oil such as extra virgin olive oil.
  • Raw seeds and nuts - Raw seeds and nuts provide a whole host of nutrition for the body including a good dose of healthy fats. However seeds and nuts are still quite dense and difficult to digest so enjoy them with plenty of water containing fresh vegetables (such as a salad with some almonds sprinkled on) and don’t overeat them. You can make them easier to digest by soaking your seeds in pure water for 8 hours and then rinsing them before eating. You can even then ferment them to remove more of the phytic acid which can cause mineral imbalances. Only enjoy raw seeds and nuts as once they are roasted or heat treated they become rancid to the body and extremely difficult for your body to break down and digest.
  • High quality cold pressed oils - Such as olive, flaxseed, avocado, almond, macadamia, hemp, etc – great for omega 3 and 6 fats (dependent on the oil). These oils are fantastic as part of a salad dressing and drizzled on steamed or baked vegetables and whole grains (after cooking only – see note below on coconut oil).
  • Coconut oil - fabulous to cook with, use in raw food recipes and especially to make raw desserts and sweets with. This is the best oil to cook with as it stays stable at high temperatures and therefore won’t become rancid or damage the body. Almost all other oils, even the most commonly used oils like olive oil, become rancid when cooked with. Instead use water, broth, coconut oil or organic butter to cook with. Coconut oil is also a great body moisturizer!
  • Organic butter - Using a little organic butter to cook with or a pat on some steamed or baked vegetables can make your cooking taste divine. Like coconut oil, butter stays stable at high temperatures so it will not go rancid. The cow’s dairy won’t do you much damage if you use it in very small amounts but always note your own sensitivities. Always aim for the highest quality butter you can find, ideally organic, unpasteurized and from cows that have been grass fed.


Steer clear of “bad fats” as much as possible. Sometimes it is very difficult to avoid them entirely, such as when you are eating out (for example salads can come with poor quality oils or roasted nuts or meals can be made with oils that have been heated), but whenever possible reduce your intake of these fat types. They are difficult to digest, rancid and will really make your liver work very hard to try to break them down.

  • Roasted nuts and seeds – As you know now from the “good fats” above, nuts and seeds that have been cooked or heated are going to tax your body greatly. Your liver will suffer, your digestion compromised and your energy levels are likely to drop. Note that almost all cashews even if labeled raw are not actually raw as they heat treat them to break them out of their shells. Also, peanuts even in their raw form are best avoided as they are very mucus forming and feed fungal conditions.
  • Poor quality or heated oils – see explanation above
  • Some animal product fats, particularly from poor quality red meat and deli meat


Aim to avoid these guys at all costs. The occasional indulgence won’t kill you, but if you don’t seriously limit the “ugly fats” your health will deteriorate. Your liver will thank you if you eliminate these fats!

  • Saturated fats – All fried fats, fatty animal meats, processed meats, pastries, biscuits, pasteurized cow’s dairy (except organic butter). Think bacon grease, fried fish and chips, fried chicken nuggets, etc
  • Trans fatty acids – While found in small amounts in sheep and cow rumen, the trans fatty acids to really worry about are in highly processed and damaging packaged foods such as margarine, some biscuits, crackers, cakes, sweets, etc.

Moral of the story? Focus on the good fats as part of your daily diet and drastically minimise or remove the bad and ugly fats from your diet as much as possible. You don’t have to do it all at once as that can be overwhelming but aim to remove one bad fat from your diet per week or month until they very infrequently show up on your plate.

You will be well on your way to a lighter, sexier, cleaner body in no time.

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