The Truth About Fat: Not all fat is created equal

by Polly N on March 18, 2014

I want to address the latest headline in the national papers this morning about saturated fat. There has been a lot of confusion about what fats we should and shouldn’t be eating and this article tells us the latest research suggests that saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease after all, (something some of us have known for a while!)

saturated fat

Fat has been mistakenly labeled as ‘bad’ and demonised by the food industry and because the majority of people believe what they see on the tv and in the media, they have moved away from eating foods that are essential to the body.

Nearly all foods contain some fat because both plants and animals use fats to store energy. It is needed for their growth, development and function when there is a shortage of food supply (or sunlight shortage in the case of plants). Like animals, we also need fat in our diet and while certain types are detrimental, a certain amount of good fat is essential for optimal health.

Let’s look at the bad fats:

Trans fats can be natural but are mostly artificial created through a process known as hydrogenation, which involves adding hydrogen to vegetable oil during food processing to make it solidify. These are also known as hydrogenated fats. Known to contribute or cause: diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease. Found in: margarine, fast foods, fried foods, processed meats & commercial baked goods such as cookies, pies & cakes.

The truth about saturated fat

Ever since a floored and badly researched paper was published in 1953 by a Dr Ancel Keys, as well as the fat-free craze in the 80’s and 90’s, saturated fat has received a lot of bad press which has confused us all! Saturated fat helps us to feel full and when it’s removed from certain foods, we end up eating more as we still don’t feel satisfied.

There are two types of saturated fats; those from animal-based fats like meat, cheese and eggs which should be kept to minimum consumption in order to maintain general overall health, and plant-based fats from foods like coconut meat and coconut oil, (which can and should be consumed.) Found in: meat, dairy, and some plant products

So to clarify, saturated fat is not the enemy if it is from a plant-based source.

Which means, the GOOD FATS are:

Unsaturated fats:  monounsaturated’s (MUFA’s) found in foods such as olive oil and avocados.

Polyunsaturateds (PUFA’s) found in sunflower and corn oils as well as in the omega-3s of salmon and walnuts. (Note: these oils should never be heated.) Beneficial because: they have been shown to fight fatigue, help control weight, lower blood cholesterol and the risk for heart disease.

Which come FROM:

  • Avocado
  • Coconuts and coconut oil
  • Nuts
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Grass fed meat
  • Grass fed butter (Organic grass-fed butter is a great source of fatty acids, Vitamins A, D, E and K2.)

Fats to AVOID:

Saturated: Margarine, Hydrogenated oils

Unsaturated: canola oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, rice bran oil.

 

Are you clued up on your fats and do you make it your priority each day to consume plenty of the right fats?

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