Good Fats For A Good Mood and A Healthier Body

     One of the things I I’ve decided to take with me after reading “The South Beach Diet” is an emphasis on gettin “good fats” in my diet and reducing “bad fats”. Heart doctor and author Dr. Arthur Agaston emphasizes relying on the right fats not simply consuming fewer fat grams. Fats are not all created equal and an emphasis on cutting fats from the diet can leave the dieter less satisified and actually less healthy. Though “bad fats” such as Saturated Fats and Trans-Fats increase cholesterol levels and contribute to weight gain, as well as raise the risk of certain kinds of diseases,  “good fats” have the opposite effect and have been proven to be essential for both physical and emotional well being.

     Initial studies that indicated a clear relationship between overall fat intake and heart disease were flawed. They failed to take into account these different types of fats and as a result some of the research findings were hard to understand. Especially of intrest was the health of people living on the Greek island of Crete where there was a very high intake of fat but very low heart attack rates. Later research has helped us understand that the reason for this was the difference in the types of fats used here. They were consuming a lot of fat, but “good fats”.

     So what fats are “good”? Mono- and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and omega 3 fatty acids are all beneficial to the body’s over all health. They are also filling and help make foods more satisfying. They help the body with weight loss, mental clarity, and mood issues. You may hear mention of the “Mediteranian Diet” or “Mediteranian Fats” when you look for information of  “good fats”.  This eating approach, consistent with traditional eating habits in the Mediteranian, emphasizes the use of healthy fats for better health and weight loss.

Nutrition Facts

     For general cooking  a spritz of  Extra Virgin Olive-oil has replaced pats of butter and spoons of traditional vegetable oil in our home. I take omega 3 tablets daily and serve fish several times a week. We also snack on nuts and seeds. I have Chia Seed with my Carbmaster yogurt each morning. We eat very little mayonaise or butter in our home but last week my mother-in-law introduced me to a couple of products that we have decided to have on hand for those occasions. Kraft Mayo with Olive oil has 1/2 the fat and calories of regular mayo and only1.5 gram of Saturated fat. If I decide to make a yummy low carb Cauliflower Salad, I will feel better knowing the dressing is made from this as opposed to traditional mayonaise. The other product is Land O’ Lakes Butter With Olive Oil. It’s made with only three ingredients, sweet cream, olive oil, and salt.  This delivers a slightly lower calorie option but decreases the saturated fat by almost 1/2.

 So for better health consider using these guidelines:

  • Keep total fat intake to 20-35% of calories
  • Limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your calories (200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet)
  • Limit trans fats to 1% of calories (2 grams per day for a 2000 calorie diet)
 Good Fats
Monounsaturated fat Polyunsaturated fat
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed and Chia Seed
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu


Saturated fat Trans fat
  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Lard
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Candy bars

Looking for more information on good fats vs. bad fats? Visit


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