Thursday, 4 February 2010
Do you know your FATS?
Do you know your fats? I’m talking about the different fats found in your food?
So many people are still under the illusion that all higher fat foods are bad for you, but that’s not necessarily the case.
Fewer than half of us Brits know that the "better" fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) can help reduce the risk of heart disease and keep us healthy. We’ve been brainwashed to believe that fat is ‘bad’, but some fats are actually better than others.
OK, so there are 4 different types of fats. In order, from good to bad, they are:
All fats, regardless of their health benefits, have the same number of calories: 9 calories per gram.
Considering that proteins and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, we still need to eat fat in moderation.
So we all need to be careful how much fat we eat for good health, but cutting out fat altogether, and following the ‘low fat diet’ for fat loss is ridiculous!
We ALL need a certain level of fat in our diets to maintain good health AND weight control.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lower your LDL – or "bad" cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease. They also raise your HDL – ‘Good’ Cholesterol.
Monounsaturated fats can be found in vegetable oils like olive and canola oils; and many nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts and sesame seeds. Peanut butter and avocados are also good sources of monounsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats can be found in oils like soybean and corn oils and in many nuts and seeds such as walnuts and sunflower seeds. Fatty fish like salmon and trout are also good sources of polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6, essential fats that your body needs but can't produce.
Saturated fats are hard fats found mainly in animal products such as red meat, butter and full-fat cheeses, and can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts, because they raise your LDL - 'bad' cholesterol - and can block up the arteries to the heart. Too much harmful cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of coronary heart disease, the biggest killer in the UK.
Finally, there are the 'Trans’ Fats, which are FAKES! They have a plastic-like construction that are modified and designed to allow ‘fresh’ food to last longer. They’re found in almost all processed foods including margarines, biscuits, cakes and pies.
Again, these raise blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.
So, when eating different foods, keep an eye on the fats you’re consuming. Eat more of the poly and mono kinds, go easy on the Saturated, and avoid, AT ALL COST, the Trans type!
Eat a good mix of nuts, seeds, avocado, organic peanut butter, olive oil and fresh fish.
Go easy on red meats, butter and cheese.
Avoid / cut out margarines, processed foods, baked foods and pastries, biscuits, cakes and pies.
JUST REMEMBER – Fat CAN be good for you, but with 9 calories per gram, they can still add up over the course of a day or week, so watch your calories and enjoy fat!