The definitive healthy fats list by category, the bad unhealthy fats to avoid, and the ones to consume in moderation
Do you know what are the healthy fats and which aren’t? The healthy fats list below will help you quickly and easily distinguish between which fats are healthy, which are unhealthy, and which should be consumed in moderation. You might be surprised by a few!
Fat in particular still seems to be a topic of confusion and misunderstanding. And this is not surprising, as we have been fed a lot of conflicting, biased, and incorrect “information,” particularly since the 1950s (thank you Ancel Keys…) regarding which fats are good for you and which fats are bad for you.
We could spend all day talking about this topic, but for today’s purpose, it’s important for you to be aware of which fats are best, which are okay in moderate amounts, and which fats to avoid.
And, while how much fat you’re eating does of course matter (what I usually term “fat ratios”), the starting place before the amount of fat is the type and source (quality) of the fat you’re eating.
Healthy fats are a critical piece to reaching or maintaining optimal health, energy, performance, fitness results, and a healthy life. And yes, the right fats even when eaten in what some might consider to be a “high fat” diet, not only help with weight loss, but can also be an important piece to preventing or healing diseases, including cardiovascular disease!
In fact, to give you an idea of just how crucial the right kind of fats are, a large study published in the Lancet compared over 135k people in 18 countries and found that people on the low-fat diet had greater risk of heart attack and heart disease and were more likely to die from any cause. Eeek!
While the right kind of fats are protective and essential, the bad fats (usually this means the man-altered fats of our day) are outrageously damaging to health and weight management.
Thus, one of the most effective places you can put your energy in regard to your health, fitness goals, weight management, and overall quality of life is to improve or optimize your fat intake. Unrefined, natural fats are essential, so don’t be afraid to consume them liberally, and yes this includes the saturated fat that many are still afraid to eat.
The list below indicates the healthy fats, the unhealthy fats, and the ones that are best to consume more in moderation.
Remember, always look first at the ingredient label of a food product to determine what fats or oils are in it. It might surprise you which products contain these sneaky unhealthy oils. And of course, always aim to use only the healthiest fats at home in your cooking; the healthy fats in the green column are also the best fats for cooking.
Healthy Fats List
|Good Fats (Enjoy Liberally)||Okay (Moderate Use)||Bad Fats (Avoid)|
|Butter (100% grass-fed is best)||Ghee||Canola oil (even organic, etc.)|
|Tallow||FRESH 100% extra virgin olive oil||Olive oil|
|Lard||Peanut oil unrefined||Commercial grapeseed oil|
|Pure rendered animal fat (i.e turkey, chicken, duck, etc. lard)||Avocado oil + avocado||Commercial sunflower oil|
|FRESH + wild fatty fish/fish oil||Cold-pressed grapeseed oil||Commercial safflower oil|
|(Grass-fed) fatty meats||Cold-pressed sunflower oil||Commercial rice bran oil|
|Coconut oil||Cold-pressed safflower oil||Soybean oil|
|Whole seeds + seed butter||Cold-pressed rice bran oil||Margarine|
|Pastured full-fat dairy||Sesame seed oil||Hydrogenated oil (trans fat)|
|Cream||Fresh flaxseed oil unrefined||Commercial corn oil|
|Red palm fruit oil (crude)||Cold-pressed corn oil (non-gmo)||Cottonseed oil|
|Egg Yolk||Commercial full-fat dairy||Refined palm|
|Cocoa butter||Nuts and nut butters||Fake butter spreads|
|Traditional bone broth||Unrefined palm kernel oil||Fake dairy|
|MCT oil powder|
Oil Processing Cheat Sheet
How a fat or oil is processed makes a massive difference in how healthy or toxic it is. This guide gives you a basic idea of which fat processing types are best and which are the worst.
|Cold pressed oil (aka pressed, crude)|
|100% Virgin, extra virgin (vegetable) oil||Not all olive oil is “green” even when 100% extra virgin|
|100% Expeller pressed oil||Excluding canola (cottonseed) and soybean oils (always is “orange” or “red”)|
|Expeller pressed oil||Not “100%” expeller pressed|
|“Sunflower,” “safflower,” “soybean” etc. oil||When just the vegetable oil is listed, typically always means commercially refined|
Hope you have the best, healthiest day!