Balancing your fats
Not all fats are created equal. Some fats are better for us than others, and some should be avoided completely. As with incorporating protein and carbs to make up a healthy diet, so should you incorporate some fats to help transport vitamins A, D, E, and K round the body, to keep your energy levels high and to ensure healthy skin and hair.
What may be surprising is that research has revealed it’s essential to have some fat in your diet to lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, as well as improve your cholesterol levels.
Not convinced? Just take a look at the obesity levels in the US and UK and see how much they’ve risen, not reduced, since the ‘low-fat diet’ was introduced.
So how do you know which ones are good and which ones are bad?
1. Monounsaturated fats (MUFA): These can be found in foods such as nuts, avocados, olives, olive oil, canola oil and poultry.
The benefits of MUFA’s are that they can help reduce bad cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.
2. Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA): These can be found in foods such as fatty fish i.e. salmon, mackerel, herring and trout, as well as corn, soybean oils, walnuts and sunflower seeds.
The benefits of PUFA’s are that they can help reduce cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. They also provide essential fats that your body can’t produce itself – Omega 6 & Omega 3. Both of which play a crucial role in brain function and the normal growth and development of your body.
Fats to be avoided:
1. Saturated fats: These can be found primarily from animal sources i.e. meat and dairy products such as cheese, butter, and milk.
Although not as bad as Trans Fats as they can be included in your diary but should be limited to once or twice per week.
Why? Because saturated fats can raise your blood cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. It may also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
2. Trans Fats: These are basically unnatural fats which can be found in processed food and fried foods, snacks and desserts.
Research has shown that Trans fats can increase cholesterol levels as well as increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Most foods that have a high percentage of saturated or Trans fats are sold at room temperature.
To give you a guide of how much fat you should incorporate into your diet, The Harvard School of Public Health advises not to eat any more than 30g (for men) and 20g (for women) of mostly unsaturated fats. women) of mostly unsaturated fats.