Choose well: The best and worst fats for your body

Trans fats and saturated fats are the two types of fats that you should avoid in your regular diet. We explain why and which are the healthiest fats.

Not all fats are the same. Its effect depends on the proportions in which the fatty acids are in its composition. In general, saturated fats, especially artificially saturated ones like Trans fats, are associated with the worst health effects. On the other hand, the monounsaturated ones, such as those in olive oil, and the polyunsaturated ones rich in omega-3s are preferable for health.


Certain foods of plant origin provide fatty acids that protect the cardiovascular system, but are also beneficial for the brain, nervous system and hormonal processes.

  • Olive oil. It is both one of the most suitable for cold dressing as well as the ideal for frying. The reason is that it withstands high temperatures better (up to 180 ºC) than oils with a higher percentage of unsaturation, such as sunflower or corn.
  • Rapeseed oil One of the healthiest, despite its tragic reputation in Spain, it is almost as rich in oleic acid as olive oil and also has omega-3s. Better to use it raw than to fry.
  • Linen. It’s hard and shiny shell resists digestive juices, so it must be ground with a coffee grinder just before adding it to muesli. The oil has 60% omega-3 (the best vegetable source). But be careful: because of this it oxidizes just three days after opening the bottle.
  • Walnuts. They are the dried fruit with the best omega-3 / omega-6 ratio. Taking five a day, no more, protects the heart.


Denmark and Canada have banned Tran’s fats in their products. They are also not legal in New York restaurants. The state of California also vetoes them in cafeterias, bakeries and school cafeterias. Why?

A review of studies published in July 2006 in The New England Journal of Medicine pointed out that ingesting five grams of Tran’s fatty acids daily increases the risk of having a heart attack by 25%.

The reason is that, unlike olive oil, they have the ability to raise LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol levels and lower HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. They are, therefore, more dangerous for the cardiovascular system than any other macronutrient.

These fatty acids are found in a wide variety of commonly consumed products, such as biscuits, industrial pastries and pastries, sliced ​​bread, spreads, snacks, margarines, ice creams and a multitude of pre-cooked or pre-fried foods. Amounts can fluctuate significantly.


The unsaturated fatty acids in most foods are of the cis type. In them the hydrogen atoms of each double bond are on the same side. But in Tran’s fats they are located in opposite positions. This difference at the molecular level explains its different effect on the body.

Tran’s fatty acids appear in the partial hydrogenation process of vegetable oils to make them more useful for the food industry. They have adverse effects on multiple cardiovascular risk factors and contribute to increased coronary risk.

Currently it is recommended to keep the consumption of Tran’s fats below 1% of caloric intake, which would represent less than 2 grams per day in the case of a 2,000 calorie diet. The ultimate goal is to minimize their presence.


There are other types of fats that you should also avoid or limit in a healthy diet:

  • The saturated ones that accompany meat and dairy products.
  • Commercial sauces with refined oils.
  • Products with vegetable oils or fats whose origin is not specified.

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