Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

I’m confused! What’s the difference between good and bad fat? How can fat be good for you at all? —L.D., Sioux Falls, South Dakota

You’re not the only one who’s confused! The “skinny” on fat seems to change almost daily. Fat has certainly gotten a bad name over the past few years. But the fact of the matter is we all need some fat in our diet. Fat provides our bodies with energy and is one of three main food components (the others are protein and carbohydrates). Some types of fat are better for you than others. Saturated fats, which have been linked to high cholesterol, are found mostly in red meat, dairy products and egg yolks. It’s best to eat those foods sparingly. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and are classified as monounsaturates (olive and canola oils) and polyunsaturates (safflower, corn, peanut and soybean oils). However, experts currently believe that monosaturated fats are better for you. That’s why the recipes in Healthy Cooking generally call for canola oil or olive oil. As with many other foods, moderation is the key when it comes to consuming fats. Try to eat a variety of foods so you’ll get a good overall nutritional balance in your diet. There’s no reason to deprive yourself entirely of any food (unless you’re under doctor’s orders, of course). So go ahead…have a cookie now and then. Just don’t eat the whole bag!