The Truth About FatsDecember 9th, 2013 by David
Foods which are high in fat have been demonised for years; a fact that seems to be encouraging poor food choices and feeding the growing problem of obesity and incidence of disease.
Obsessions with eating a low-fat diet means that people completely miss the fact that not all fats are the same and end up alienating fats which are so important for health that they even have an ‘essential’ tag at the beginning of their name!
Essential fats like omega 3 and 6 found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados are absolutely paramount to good health. Our hearts, heads and every cell in our body depend on them! So eating a low-fat diet means jeopardising health to a rather dangerous extent.
What’s more, fats are preferred sources of fuel for the body so they do not make you fat. Quite to the contrary, fats – especially omega 3 fats – are required to fuel the body’s fat burning furnace, so fats actually help you lose weight and stay slim!
Low fat versions of natural foods are constantly popping up on the supermarket shelves, as a means of providing the ‘healthier’ option. Ironically it is these very foods which could be contributing to weight gain and a whole spectrum of health problems. Low-fat and fat-free versions of foods such as yoghurts extract the natural fatty acids and replace them with sugars and additives – which are the very substances which are stored as fat and make you want to eat more!
Low fat and fat free alternatives of natural foods also lose out on all the fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin D and vitamin A which are essential for good health. So all the goodness is taken out and replaced with empty calories, and yet somehow these products are still marketed as ‘healthy!’
Polyunsaturated fats are the really ‘good’ fats that you find in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines. It is recommended to eat 2/3 portions of these fish a week. Monounsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts and seeds are also essential for health. It is important to moderate your intake of saturated fats found in red meat and animal fats, but they are still important for health and should not be avoided. In fact, red meat and butter are unrivalled sources of certain nutrients and constitute an integral part of a healthy diet.
It is ‘trans’ fats that are the ones to watch out for and eliminate entirely from your diet. These are found in processed foods and cookies, cakes and snack bars. These are the fats which are associated with the growing obesity epidemic.
Rather than cutting down on your overall fat intake, look at the types of fats that you are eating. Include plenty of essential fats, moderate levels of saturated fats and always opt for full-fat versions of natural foods including yoghurt, hummus and dairy products.
If you want to point an accusing finger at any food group, turn your attention to refined carbohydrates and sugars, and leave fats alone!