A common misconception in the ‘dieting’ world, is the idea of avoiding fat. Why? Well that’s because fat makes you fat right? Umm, no, not exactly.
There are a number of vitamins and minerals that require either water or fat to be absorbed / dissolved & used by the body. Fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E & K of which are stored within the tissues of the body. Now before you go eat a whole bunch of fat, take into consideration that there are both good and bad fats including unsaturated, saturated and trans fats.
Yeah, it all sounds very confusing, but let me break it down.
Unsaturated Fats | The Good Fat
These fats are liquid at room temperature.
Unsaturated fats can be considered the “good fats,” as they assist the body functioning and performing adequately, whilst reducing bad cholesterol levels (LDL).
There are two types of unsaturated fats:
- Research suggests that eating food high in monounsaturated fat can actually assist in stabilizing insulin & blood sugar levels, which is especially beneficial for those suffering with type 2 diabetes
- Food sources include: Avocado, eggs, nuts, olives, olive oil, peanut oil
Polyunsaturated Fat :
- Omega-3s and omega-6s cannot be produced by the body, making them essential fatty acids that need to be obtained from our food. Polyunsaturated fats are a great source of these essential fats
- Food sources include: Fish, flaxseed, beans, nuts, poultry, wholegrain breads, most vegetable and seed oils
Although unsaturated fats have shown to provide health benefits, they must still be eaten in moderation – because too much of a good thing does eventually become unhealthy.
Saturated Fats | The Not So Good Fat
These fats are solid at room temperature.
Saturated fats are present in small quantities in a lot of our food, from meat to coconut products – but consumption should be limited, as saturated fats lead to higher levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) & lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
- Food sources include: Animal fats, cheese, refined products, butter, chocolate, coconut oils
Trans Fats | The Really Bad Fat
Also known as trans fatty acids – avoid these fats completely if possible. These fats are found in processed foods, where oil is partially hydrogenated (chemically altered) – turning it into a solid state. The result is a lengthened shelf life (great for the manufacturer), and increased levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol for those who consume it.
- Food sources include: Chips, cookies, crackers, candy, margarine, junk food, cake, creamers, fried foods
So hopefully now you you have a better understanding of fat – because some fats are really good! 🙂