Fat is a word which people always relate to negativity, but what lots of people don’t understand, is that our body needs fat to survive, as it is a major source of energy, allowing for the absorption of some vitamins and minerals. There can be so many types of amazing and beneficial fats, don’t think butter, Maccas, or donuts, but think seeds, nuts and avocados, to name a few. If someone is on a low-fat diet, it is often that companies will just increase the sugar to compromise for the loss of fat, which will hopefully increase the taste, but at the same time be bad for you due to the high increase in sugar.
We need to consume fat so our body can build cell membranes, which is the exterior of each of our cells, and the exterior surrounding our nerves (Harvard Health 2016). Fats are essential for inflammation, muscle movement, blood clotting (Harvard Health 2016), not to mention the skin and hair improvements individuals report with a higher consumption of healthy fats. There are different types of fats, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, trans and saturated fats. The mono and polyunsaturated are good fats, trans fats are industrial made terrible fats (which have no known health benefits – I doubt they will ever find any) (Harvard Health 2016), then there are saturated fats, which there is much debate about. My opinion on saturated fats may be different to yours, and yours may be different to your dieticians. My opinion though? Some are great (such as coconut oil, fish oil, and some types of nuts), some saturated fats I would steer clear from (processed meats, chocolate, cream). Per gram, fats have more than twice the calories of protein or carbohydrates, having 9 calories per gram, compared to protein and carbs, which have 4 calories per gram (Healthy Eating: SF Gate 2016). Let’s get to know the different types of fats in more depth.
Monounsaturated fats – Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, and turn
solid when they are chilled. These types of fats are beneficial to your body, providing nutrients to develop and maintain the cells of your body. Monounsaturated fats can also help reducing the bad cholesterol levels in your body, which can decrease your risk of stroke and heart disease (American Heart Association 2016). These aren’t the only benefits, another is with the consumption of monounsaturated (and polyunsaturated fats), you are also consuming vitamin E, which is an antioxidant vitamin that protects cells from damage, and can even lower heart disease to cancer (Live Science 2016). It’s important not to stay away from monounsaturated fats.
Here are some foods high in monounsaturated fats (Loop PNG 2016):
– avocados. Avocados are also a terrific source of filling fibre, containing 11 to 17 grams per avocado.
– olive oil
– cashew nuts
– macadamia nuts
Polyunsaturated fats are also great in the way that their properties can help reduce bad cholesterol, and therefore decrease stroke and heart disease (American Heart Association 2016), and also maintain the cells of our bodies. Foods high in polyunsaturated fats also provide essential fats to your body that we cannot produce ourselves, such as Omega 3 and
6 fatty acids (Harvard Health 2016). These fats can only come through food, are proven to be useful in supporting conditions such as asthma, arthritis, high cholesterol, and depression, read more about that here.
Here are some foods high in polyunsaturated fats (Loop PNG 2016):
– soy milk
Trans Fats – This is the worst type of dietary fat – stay away from these! Trans fats are a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation, which is a processed used to turn healthy oils into solids, also preventing them from becoming rancid (Harvard Health 2016). Foods that contain a high amount of trans fats are detrimental to your health; increasing bad cholesterol in your system and reducing the good, also increasing inflammation which is
linked to a variety of diseases such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease (Harvard Health 2016). Another terrible thing about trans fats is that research has shown that even small amounts can be detrimental to ones health – if you were to consume 2% of your daily calories in trans fats, your risk of heart disease would rise by 23% (Harvard Health 2016).
Here are some foods high in trans fats (Health.com 2016):
– hot chips
– anything fried or battered
– pies and pie crust
– cake or pancake mixes and frostings
– ice cream
– frozen dinners
– frozen snacks (including dim sims, pies, sausage rolls, chicken nuggets)
– dried Asian crunchy noodles
Saturated Fats – Saturated fats are often referred to as ‘bad fats’, but there is also evidence and many opinions online arguing that saturated fats are actually good for you. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. These types of fats are mainly found in animal products, but can also be found in plant sources (Harvard: T.H. Chan 2014). In my
opinion, most saturated fats are bad, apart from a couple. Saturated fats aren’t considered essential for good health, and some foods high in saturated fats have been linked with an increase in cholesterol levels in the body and heart disease (Better Health Channel 2016). For these reasons, it is recommended by most nutrition experts that under 10% of your daily calories are consumed from saturated fats (Harvard Health 2016).
Here are some foods high in saturated fats (Dieticians Association of Australia 2016):
– coconut milk
– coconut oil (this contains up to 80% saturated fats)
– animal fats
– cakes, biscuits, and fatty snack foods
– fish oil
– processed meat (salami, pepperoni, chicken loaf, Strasburg ,pastrami, prosciutto, sausages, frankfurts, hotdogs)
Of course with these four types of fats there are two which are considered good, and two bad. If something is high in fat, that doesn’t mean that it is bad for you. On the other hand, all because a food has good fats in it, that doesn’t mean that it is always super good for you. Fat contains 9 calories per gram, and if you have too much fat, then you may be consuming a really high amount of calories without noticing, for example, one tablespoon of oil contains 120 calories.
What I love to do, is to create more volume when it comes to the fats I eat. I would rather eat a handful of nuts or ass avocado on my foods rather than add oil into my diet. I do this by reducing my oil consumption. Here are a few of the things I do:
– use a non stick pan
– use a small amount of water where I would usually use olive oil/coconut oil
– when I would usually deep fry, or fry something, cook it in the oven over baking paper.
– use cooking spray
– pat off excess oil after cooking
This helps me because I actually get to eat more rather than just digest oil, so I feel less hungry, and actually get to consume more. Different foods work for different people, and you know your body better than anyone else. Your body may love consuming high fat foods, or it may not. Try out foods and see how you feel from eating them. If you start consuming healthy fats into your diet, you are not only going to look amazing, but you will see so many benefits. It’s always important to listen to your body, you need to be eating what makes you feel amazing.
I am so glad that there is so much amazing information on the Internet, and that I am able to share it and gather some of it together for you to read. When we consume good fats, it does wonders for our body. I really hope that this post has helped you and that you gained a little bit of knowledge from me. I would love to get to know you, so comment below.
Until next time!
Lots of Love,
American Heart Association 2016, Monounsaturated Fats. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Monounsaturated-Fats_UCM_301460_Article.jsp. [Accessed 18 September 2016]
Better Health Channel 2016, Cholesterol – Better Health Channel. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/cholesterol. [Accessed 18 September 2016].
Dietitians Association of Australia 2016, Saturated Fats: Dietitians Association of Australia. [ONLINE] Available at: http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/smart-eating-for-you/nutrition-a-z/saturated-fats/. [Accessed 18 September 2016].
Global Healing Center: Dr. Group’s Natural Health & Organic Living Blog 2016, The Health Benefits of Omega 3, 6, 9 Fatty Acids and EPA & DHA?, [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-omega-3-6-9-fatty-acids/. [Accessed 18 September 2016].
Harvard Health 2016, The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between – Harvard Health. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good. [Accessed 18 September 2016].
Health.com. 2016, Trans Fat Alert! 22 Foods to Watch – Health.com. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20533295,00.html#ad-3. [Accessed 18 September 2016].
Healthy Eating: SF Gate 2016, Each Gram of Protein & Carbohydrates Contains How Many Kilocalories? [ONLINE] Available at: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/gram-protein-carbohydrates-contains-many-kilocalories-5978.html. [Accessed 18 September 2016]
Live Science 2016, Vitamin E: Sources, Benefits & Risks. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.livescience.com/51543-vitamin-e.html. [Accessed 18 September 2016].
Loop PNG 2016, Dietary fats: the good, the bad and the ugly | Loop PNG. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.looppng.com/content/dietary-fats-good-bad-and-ugly. [Accessed 18 September 2016].
The Nutrition Source: Harvard T.H. Chan 2014, Types of Fat . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/types-of-fat/. [Accessed 18 September 2016].
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