Fat - is it good for you? Bad for you? Are there different kinds? Which sort should you eat? Personal Trainer at Body Development, Karen Crudgington, gives us the skinny on fat.
A hot topic in the Nutrition world at present is the subject of fat consumption.
There are numerous views upon how much we should eat, what the best sources are and the effects upon health and body composition. In recent years, dietary fat has been given a negative reputation linked to CHD, diabetes, cancer and obesity.
We have been told to reduce our saturated fat intake and take more exercise to lose weight and prevent disease. However there is still an overweight epidemic in the UK so maybe saturated fats aren't the whole problem? In this blog I'm going to simplify the types of fats available from our diets, what I believe are the healthiest choices, plus a brief insight into which fats you should most definitely steer clear of.
First things first, I want to reinforce that Fat is essential to our health and is far more than just a calorie dense macronutrient…Fat plays a vital role in the following roles in the body:
- A fuel source and energy storehouse
- Provides insulation and padding for structures and organs
- Assists in absorbing fat soluble vitamins
- Builds cell membranes
- Helps build brain tissue and assists neurotransmitter signalling
- Hormone production
- Maintains healthy hair and skin
- Optimises body composition
There are 3 main different types of fat; saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Within these there are "bad" and "good fats". Your fat consumption should be from a balance of ALL 3 of the below and sourced from unprocessed, whole food, organic (where possible) sources.
Sources of "good fats"
Unprocessed meat and animal produce (ie butter, eggs) that's grassfed or organic, coconut oil
|Avocado, olives, seeds and nuts such as almonds, pecans and hazel nuts||Flaxseeds, high quality fish oils, salmon, mackerel|
The FATS to avoid...
Industrially produced from vegetable fat for use in margarines, baked goods and fried food, these are the baddies of the fat world and consumption of them has been linked to CHD. Also avoid Omega 6 cooking oils- this type of oil is chemically processed and can raise inflammation levels.
Don't be afraid of fat - it's crucial for numerous bodily functions from organ protection, brain function and body composition. Make sure you consume an equal balance of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from unprocessed, organic (if possible), whole food sources. Avoid trans fats/hydrogenated fats and omega 6 cooking oils such as sunflower oil and margarine.