For many years ‘FAT’ was the Voldemort of the dieting world. The mention of fat struck fear into our hearts. We were urged to banish it from our diets, avoid it at all costs, eat low fat foods because they were ‘better for us’, but it didn’t work did it. In fact, it made the state of our health worse.
Fat isn’t bad. Some people today have realised this (and instead have shifted the hate onto carbs - more on that another time). Our bodies need fat. Fat is a great source of energy, it helps absorb some vitamins and minerals (such as A,D and K - they can’t be absorbed without fat), allows us to build cells and its prevalence is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement and inflammation.
Now, the key thing to remember is that it’s important to consume the RIGHT kinds of fat. Not all types of fat are good for you. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are essential for good health. Good sources of these fats include vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. Processed trans fats (in biscuits, cakes etc) and saturated fats (to a certain extent) are the fats to avoid.
Trans fats is what you should be avoiding at all costs. If you eat a lot of trans fats, LDL cholesterol in the blood stream rises and HDL cholesterol, which is beneficial to health, decreases. Not all cholesterol is bad news you see. As well as increasing LDL cholesterol, Trans fats create inflammation and toxins within the body. Inflammation and toxins increase the likelihood of a stroke, developing diabetes and heart disease. There are no health benefits to trans fats and if just 2% of your diet consists of trans fats your likelihood of developing heart disease increases by 20%.
Saturated Fats aren’t as bad for you as Trans fats but your intake of this type of fat needs to be monitored. Sources of saturated fats include cheese, milk, red meat and coconut oil.
Saturated Fat has some health benefits, for example they promote a healthy immune system by providing white blood cells with saturated fatty acids (white blood cells are essential for fighting foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria). But saturated fat shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your daily calorie intake. If you consume too much then LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) can rise. This is when arteries can become blocked leading to heart attacks. This relates to coconut oil too. Coconut oil has been hailed the new health food on the block. I think people are getting a bit too carried away with it, yes there are health benefits to it but I wouldn’t go stuffing your face with it, using it whenever you can. It’s still very high in saturated fat and can cause the same effects mentioned above.
Finally, a word on the good fats. They consist of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Examples of monounsaturated fats include olive oil, nuts and avocados. They’re good for heart health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
With polyunsaturated fats, there are two types, Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fats are essential as the body can’t produce them on their own. They are used to build cell membranes and are needed for muscle movement, blood clotting and inflammation. Sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include oily fish like salmon, sardines, flaxseeds and walnuts. Examples of Omega-6 fatty acids include walnut and sunflower oils.
If you want to maintain optimum health you need to eat adequate amounts of fat. If you have optimum health then you will give your body the best chance to lose fat and be the healthiest version of you, you can be.
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The Fat Loss Specialist