Unmasking the Big Fat Myth: All Fats Are Not Bad!

Unmasking the Big Fat Myth:

Who wouldn't love to have some creamy rich butter paneer or chicken for dinner? How about an egg bhurji sautéed in ghee with spices, onion, and tomatoes for breakfast? Sounds delicious doesn't it? It sure does!

But sadly many of us are forced to turn away fearing these fat-rich foods are bad for our health. However, avoiding fats like the plague actually has a negative impact on health.

Let's give fats the respect they deserve!

The #1 Fat Myth: All Fats are Bad

For decades, fats have been labeled unhealthy. Most of us are ‘programmed’ to avoid foods with fat as it will make us fat, raise our cholesterol levels and cause heart disease. Thankfully, research reveals that all fats are not the same

What is Fat?

Fat is an essential nutrient that provides us with energy and supports cell growth. It is needed for the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Fat also plays a vital role in hormone production, brain function, and the insulation of organs.

The Four Main Types of Fats

There are two types of unsaturated fats: Monounsaturated Fats and Polyunsaturated Fats. Both are considered good for health while the benefits of Saturated Fats are a hotly debated topic. But there’s no doubt that Trans Fats are best avoided in your diet.

1. Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats are commonly found in nuts and seeds. They are also found in plant-based oils such as olive oil and canola oil. These are liquid at room temperature Avocados are also a great source of monounsaturated fats.

Researchers have noted that replacing carbohydrates with unsaturated fats decreased (harmful) LDL levels while increasing (protective) HDL levels (1).

So, how much is ok?

20 to 35% of your total calories can be from (healthy) fats. This means, in a 2,000-calorie diet, your total fat intake can range from 400 to 700 calories (2). Of the various fat types in your diet, try to have at least 20% of your daily calorie intake from monounsaturated fat sources.

2. Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats are also liquid at room temperature. These are commonly found in plant-based oils such as sunflower, safflower, and corn. These contain omega-6 fats that lower LDL and boost HDL levels. On the other hand, polyunsaturated fats in flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids (3).

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and supporting brain function.

So, how much is ok? 

About that about 15% of your daily calories should be from polyunsaturated fats.

3. Saturated Fats

These are generally found in animal-based products such as fatty cuts of meat, poultry with skin, and full-fat dairy products. They are typically solid at room temperature. Tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm oil are also high in saturated fat. 

Saturated fats  (Sat Fat) have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease when consumed in excess, as they can raise LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels in the blood.

Then again, not all saturated fats are created equal. Know the types and avoid the known bad ones. 

Saturated fats are the most misunderstood type of fat. 

Basically, the old- school of thought is to limit all sources of Sat Fat since they are bad for you. However, new research confirms that you cannot label all Sat Fats as bad (4). ‘Good’ sources of Sat Fat such as coconuts and plant oils are actually good for you. In  fact, the medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs) in coconut oil are associated with numerous health benefits (5). But since they are part of the Sat Fat category, they are unfairly demonized. 

So, how much is ok? 

Even if they are obtained from ‘good’ sources, saturated fat is best limited to 6-10% of your total calorie intake for the day (6). 

This means, on a 2000 kcal/day diet, you can have about 200 calories from Sat Fats. 

To find out which saturated fats can be safely added to your diet to reap their benefits, read our exclusive research-backed article on the topic: 

Myth vs Truth: X Health Benefits of Adding More Saturated Fat to Your Diet

4. Trans Fats

Transfats are useless – and that’s putting it nicely. It’s not just that they offer no benefits, they can severely harm your body in numerous ways (7).

So, how much is ok? 


Avoid at all costs. 

Trans fats are commonly found in processed foods, commercially baked or fried goods, and margarine. They are known to raise LDL cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease (8). Their consumption is best avoided altogether.

The Recommended Intake for Fats

Here’s a table of the recommended fat intake for your convenience.

The total amount of fat you should consume is dependent on your overall diet and lifestyle. To maintain a healthy and well-rounded diet, you need to balance the types and amounts of fats consumed, along with other nutrients such as protein, carbs, fiber, and water intake. 

Type of Fat

Recommended Intake

Example: 2000 cal/day Diet

Monounsaturated fat

Up to 20% calories

<44 grams

Polyunsaturated fat

Up to 15% calories

<33 grams

Saturated fat

Up to 10% calories

<22 grams

Trans fat

Less than 1% calories

0-2 grams

Total fat

25 - 35% calories

55 -77 grams


Keep in mind that fats are very calorie dense with 9 Kcal/gram. Even if it's from a healthy fat source, eating too much fat will lead to weight gain and other health issues. 


It is evident that not all types of fats are bad for our health. Understanding the different types of fats and their impact on our health will help you choose the right fats for your diet. 

Including moderate amounts of healthy fats in the diet, while limiting or avoiding unhealthy fats, can contribute to your overall health and well-being. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy fats and should definitely be included in your diet.

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