The Skinny on Fats

No one blames you for being confused about fats, there are so many articles which contain conflicting information leaving us wondering if we should eliminate fats or embrace them. In short it is both, it just depends which fats we are talking about.

Fat can be split in to two groups ‘good fat’ and ‘bad fat

  • Good fats include the unsaturated fats and the most common being
    o Monounsaturated
    o Polyunsatured fats
    o Omega 3
  • Bad fats include
    o Saturated Fat
    o Trans Fat (might appear as ‘partially hydrogenated oil’ on a food label)

Good fats have both physical and emotional health benefits:

  • Increase HDL level (the artery declogging cholesterol)
  • Decrease LDL level (the artery clogging cholesterol)
  • Reduces
    o Heart disease & Stroke
  • Protect against insulin resistance
  • Promote healthy joints
  • Plays a vital role in cognitive function
  • Helps battle fatigue
  • Reduces Stress

The negative effect of bad fats on our health

  • Increase cholesterol level
  • Increase LDL level
  • Increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Increase the risk of
    o Heart Disease & Stroke
  • Causes weight gain

So the answer isn’t cutting out fat to lose weight- it is to decrease the saturated and trans fats in our diet and increase the amount of unsaturated fats. This is all good and well but remember an excess amount of ‘good fats’ will still make you pile on the pounds if like any food it is eaten in excess and exceeds your energy limits. A good rule to follow is that fats should make up 20–35% of your daily calorie intake and that you should limit both your saturated fat and trans fat to 10 % and 1% of your totally calorie intake respectively.
So what do these foods look like? The easiest way to think about it is that bad fats are more often than not solid at room temperature and appear in the shape of foods we perceive as unhealthy where as good fat is liquid at room temperature and appears as individual ingredients such as nuts and oils.

So what about ‘Low Fat Product’?

‘Low Fat’ looks great when it’s spread across the label of your favourite ice cream or maybe just an innocent pot of natural yoghurt but if you take time to look at the label and compare it to the full fat version on that product you will find that yes it is lower in fat but look a little closer and yes you are reading that correctly it is actually twice as high in sugar as their original product. Extra sugar is added when the fat is removed to improve the taste and palatability of the product.
Stick to the full fat products to stay away from additional chemicals and added sugar.

To make things a little easier, just always check your labels.