Plant-Based Diets: Good Fat vs. Bad Fat


There are many approaches when it comes to dietary fat. Some diets say that all refined and additional fats are bad for you, and others allow for so-called healthy fats to be added such as olive oil. This article will expand on these notions so you can come to a conclusion about which is best for your individual health needs.

No Added Overt Fat Approach

This way of eating is proposed by doctors McDougall, Esselstyn, and Colin T. Campbell, in their plant-based ways of eating. They argue that fats like olive or coconut oil are processed food and say it is important to steer clear of not only these but of adding too many fatty foods of any kind to your diet. They suggest very few nuts, opting for seeds instead and avoiding eating too many fat-laden plants like bananas and avocado on a daily basis.

Their argument is that no one ever suffers from a fat shortage or deficiency and that our bodies are capable of getting all the fat it needs from the whole foods that we eat. Want some fat? Eat an olive, or some coconut, a banana or avocado but take it easy because you do not need that much fat. Instead, enjoy plant-based diets. These feature food in its most natural form without processing it into a form of concentrated calories that are not necessary.

According to their studies and study reviews, there are no safe levels of additional fat you can add to your meals from processed fats. They conclude that you should not eat more than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake in fats naturally present in food. Eliminating added oils is, therefore, essential to health because most people will undoubtedly consume more than 10 percent of their daily calories in fat without even adding one processed oil product.

Replacing Saturated Fat with Poly- or Monounsaturated Fats

There is another rule of thumb among some plant-based nutritionists that consuming a diet too low in added fats can cause a rise in triglyceride levels. The doctors mentioned above contend that this is not true when eating a whole food plant-based diet, although it might be true when a subject replaces their fat with processed carbs that are low in fiber. However, you have to go by your blood work to find out what works best for you.

Cholesterol levels are not the sole reason for heart disease. That is why some people have very high cholesterol yet will never have a heart problem. Others with moderately low levels die of heart attacks or strokes. Proponents of healthy fats advise that eating 30 grams of fat with each meal or snack is a good rule of thumb. The fats should be poly- or monounsaturated fats like those found in nuts, avocado, and olive oil.

Additionally, the proponents of adding fat to the diet also indicate that some nutrients need fat to be absorbed. So, preparing a dressing for your greens with a little olive oil or nut butter is a good choice to help amp up the nutritional component of your food. However, they still argue that you should consume less than 30 percent of your calories from fat, overt or not.

Whichever side you fall on, eating a plant-based diet that is as unrefined and unprocessed as possible will improve your health exponentially.

Get started on your journey today with the Plant-based Diet!