The days of believing fat makes you fat are long gone! This is probably the biggest dietary misconception and most talked about topic of the last decade. Luckily science has proved that fats can be good and are essential to promote a healthy diet, so finally our attitudes have started changing based on hardcore facts and at last people are starting to understand just how important good fats can be.
The lines still feel blurred though, and the general consensus is that although we now realise that certain fats are good for us we don’t exactly know which fats are the ones we need to be eating and the ones we need to steer clear of, so here we try and simplify things;
Found in– Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils such as corn and safflower oil and oily fish
Do we need it? Polyunsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol and there are some types of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats that can’t be made by the body, so they are essential in our diets to make up for it.
Any concerns? As a nation we tend to eat more omega-6 than omega-3- and too much omega-6 is linked to heart disease, cancer and inflammation. So remember to stay balanced and up your omega-3 intake, which includes herring, mackerel, and fresh tuna.
Found in– Butter, cream, cheese
Do we need it? Saturated fat increases total cholesterol. However, Women’s Health published that a study at Cambridge University linked the presence of certain saturated fatty acids in the blood, associated with eating diary, to a lower risk of type-2 diabetes- more research is needed on this but remember that calcium has lots of other benefits such as calcium and protein.
Any concerns? Dietary guidelines recommend no more than 10% of total calories should come from saturated fats. Watch your saturated fat intake otherwise you could be putting your health at risk.
Found in– Avocado, almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts and olive oil
Do we need it? Monounsaturated fats are good fats and are a healthy replacement to trans fats and refined polyunsaturated fats that you find in most processed foods. MUFAs are said to decrease the risk of breast cancer, reduce cholesterol levels, lower the risk of heart disease and many other amazing benefits.
Any Concerns? The key is to eat in moderation as monounsaturated fats are still energy dense so don’t eat too much but still include it in your diet and swap the bad fats for the MUFAs fats.
Found in- Cakes, biscuits, takeaways and margarine
Do we need it? Absolutely not
Any concerns? Endless concerns! Artificially produced trans fats will increase cholesterol and increase our risk of heart disease.