Ron Zalko Fitness

The Skinny on Fat


There are a lot of conflicting stories nowadays about fat. Low fat, no fat, good fat, bad fat, how much fat is good/safe, trans fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat etc etc.

Here are a few good tips to separate the good, the bad and the ugly.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are 100% bad for you, no way around it.  Trans fats are byproducts of a process called hydrogenation which essentially turns oils into solids.  They are then added to chips, cookies, pastries, margarine and fried foods to make them taste better and lengthen their shelf life.  All these foods we should avoid anyway, so this is an easy one to remember. Diets high in trans fats have been linked to high levels of the harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and a 30% greater risk of heart disease.

Saturated Fats

A diet high in saturated fats is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.  Foods that contain high levels of saturated fats include beef, pork, chicken skin, high fat dairy such as cheese and sour cream, also coconut oils.  Better protein choices include egg whites, skinless chicken breast, beans, and tofu. Saturated fats should take up no more than 10% of your diet so avoid foods with high levels.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats are one of the healthy fats.  They are found in high levels in the Mediterranean diet, also in nuts, plant oils, olive oil, and avocados. Monounsaturated fats actually reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease and should be used in your diet wherever possible to replace trans fat and saturated fat.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated Fats AKA “essential fatty acids” are Omega 3 (alpha-linoleic acid) and Omega 6 (linoleic acid) These fats are also healthy fats and are required by your body for building healthy cells, & maintaining brain and nerve function. These fats are not something that the body produces, we need to get them from our food sources. Omega 3 is found in fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel also in flax seeds and oil, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. Omega 6 is found in nuts, meat, egg yolks and vegetable oils.  Omega 3 in particular has been linked to lower risk of heart disease, stroke, inflammation, and type 2 diabetes.


There you have it folks, some great ideas for healthy fats to add to your diet, and which ones to avoid or cut out completely.  Healthy Fats should take up 20-30% of your diet. Combining healthy eating with regular exercise will greatly reduce your risk of a number of preventable diseases.

Now you know what to tell someone when they condescendingly remind you that guacamole is fattening… as long as it isn’t made with mayonnaise, you’re on the right track 🙂


Produced by Ron Zalko

From Ron Zalko Fitness & Yoga in Vancouver, Canada

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