There’s been lots of confusion over the years about fat, so generally we’ve avoided it; now it’s time to reeducate yourself and start incorporating fat. The origin of this myth came from Dr.Keys who initiated the seven countries study and they came to the conclusions that a high fat diet resulted in heart disease. Multiple new studies have shown this not to be the case and this blog post offers a small explanation as to why.
Fat is a macronutrient which has many important functions in the body. Fat is a fuel source, mainly during resting conditions and low intensity exercise, it protects vital organs, makes up the cell membrane, provides insulation, allows fat soluble vitamins to be taken up and provides palatability for food consumption.
Before we delve into fats we need to understand cholesterol. Small Dense LDL (Low density lipoproteins) transport cholesterol from the liver to the tissues, including the artery walls. The cholesterol infiltrates the artery walls causing a build up which blocks your arteries and can lead to a heart attack.
HDL (High Density Lipoproteins) removes cholesterol from the tissues and transport it to the liver for excretion; therefore protecting arteries against heart disease.
Different Types of Fat
Trans fats have been hydrogenated to turn healthy oils into solids. These are the ones that raise your LDL bad cholesterol levels in the blood, increase inflammation and contribute to insulin resistance.
Luckily, many restaurants and food manufacturers have voluntarily chosen to reduce the amount of trans fats in their food as well as the FDA requiring the food industry to phase out trans fats.
Foods: Fast food
This is the one that’s got a horrendous reputation and there’s a lot of confusion. Not all saturated fats are the same though. Some Saturated fats increase the levels of LDL Bad cholesterol in the blood and yes you should reduce these.
Foods: Lard, cream, butter, meat, dairy products, eggs
However, coconut oil is an exception to this, it contains lauric acid, which the body converts into monolaurin. This has many health benefits including anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties as well as being absorbed much easier in the intestine.
Another exception is in meat, the animal fats contain fat-soluble vitamins and allow for their uptake.
Eggs contain 245 IUs of Vitamin A, 18 IUs of Vitamin D, and the healthy fat to help you absorb it properly.
Increase levels of HDL Good cholesterol in the blood
Foods: Olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, and sunflower oils
These are essential fats that your body needs and cannot make itself inside the body.
The two types are: Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-6 fatty acids
Foods Omega-3: Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil
Foods Omega-6: Vegetable oils such as safflower, soybean, sunflower, walnut, and corn oils
So what makes us fat, where’s the confusion?
Fat equates to flavour, when manufactures wanted to create low-fat alternatives and products they needed something else to make you buy it; they found sugar. Sugar is a whole other issue which I won’t get into here, but basically Sugar causes issues with insulin, hormones and most detrimentally its addictive.
I hope that’s given you a bit more of an understanding of fats and you now have the knowledge to be able to make more educated choices.
Let me know your favorite fat sources in the comments below >>
Disclaimer: All content is based on my own personal knowledge and research. I am not a certified nutritionist and each persons dietary needs are unique to the individual.