Are all fats bad for you? Does a fat-free diet mean that you’ll be healthy and thin as a result? If you’re sick and tired (of being sick and tired) as a result of the foods you eat, this article is just what you asked for! Read on for the good fat/bad fat guide that will improve your waistline, while lowering your cholesterol.

Nutrition facts and measure tapeThe Good Vs. the Bad (Vs. the Very, Very Bad)

Fats are as diverse as a person’s height and weight—but like the ‘long and lean’ physique, there are only some types of fats that will do that type of body shape good. Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are considered “good,” while trans fats and saturated fats are considered “bad.” Feeling confused by the fats you ingest? Then look no further than this handy guide to point you in the right direction!

Eating Fats Doesn’t Mean You’ll Get Fat

Large scale food marketers have misled the masses who ignorantly buy their products. If you buy a box of cookies for example that’s labeled as “fat free”, there’s zero guilt, right? At least, there’s zero guilt until your waistline keeps expanding, no thanks to your fat-free diet. Truth be told, there are two kinds of fats—trans fats and saturated fats (which contribute to weight gain and clogged arteries) and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats—which actually contain omega-3’s, and can improve your heart health.

Committing to a diet free of carbs can cause you to lose water weight initially, but tend to cause you to overindulge in red meat and cheese (which contain the “bad” fats in excess.) Instead, choose a healthy diet of lean cuts of meat, complex carbs (such as whole grain pasta or rice), and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Then, memorize this list of “good” and “bad” fats, and you’ll never go hungry—or misinformed—again!

The “Good” Fats That Can Shrink Your Waistline

Good fats do more than give your body an omega-3 boost. Studies show that polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can minimize depression, decrease hypertension and even prevent a stroke or heart attack altogether. Here’s a list of the “good” guys to live by:  avocado, sesame seed oil, olive oil, olives, walnuts, flaxseeds, peanut butter, and fatty fish (salmon, trout or tuna.)

The “Bad” Fats That Spike Your Cholesterol

Beware of the bad fats and especially, the “low-fat diet” trends. Trans fats don’t just contribute to weight gain, but can affect your overall health, energy level, productivity at work and even your longevity. Think you can fight off the common cold as quickly as easily as you used to? If you’re digesting bad fats on a regular basis, think again. Those bad fats (a fatty hamburger, foods cooked in peanut oil or your favorite store bought cookies) you may have become dependent on are actually raising your cholesterol and (depending on the foods you eat) causing your pancreas and insulin levels to spike out of control. If your New Year’s resolution is to make this year the year of health, avoid the following: ice-cream, butter, store bought cookies and cakes; candy, chicken with the skin on, vending machine snacks (or any snacks pre-packaged.)

A healthy diet makes for a happy life. The answer isn’t eliminating fats altogether, nor is it to have unrealistic expectations as you change up the foods you eat. Start small, by incorporating 2-3 “good” fats into your diet this week, and notice any differences in the way you feel. Soon, you’ll feel confident that “fat” doesn’t always means your thighs, hips and arms turns to fat,  but instead that the right types of fats means a healthier, happier you.