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Not all fats are equal: the good and the bad

Saturated fats are considered 'bad fats' as, in excess, they increase blood cholesterol levels and an individuals risk of heart disease.

Unsaturated fats are considered 'good fats' and are often rich in vitamins A, D, E and K.

Trans fats are unsaturated fats altered at a chemical level that behave similar to saturated fat. They increase 'bad' cholesterol levels and decrease 'good' cholesterol levels.

Omega-3 fats are a type of unsaturated fat that increases 'good' cholesterol levels and can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Finding the balance

A well balanced diet should include 2-3 serves of omega-3 rich foods each week, whilst limiting foods high in saturated and trans fats. Foods high in saturated fats include take away and fried foods, cakes, biscuits and pastries, alcohol, processed meat, minced meat, butter and full fat dairy. Heavily processed foods tend to be higher in trans fats than other products.

Sources of healthy fats include:

  • Deep sea oily fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel 
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds, in particular walnuts, linseeds and flax seeds
  • Unheated olive oil
  • Beans and legumes
  • Eggs and poultry

For more dietary information visit the Australian Governments Eat for Health website.