Fat has been the enemy for so many years, being blamed for all manner of health problems. This is a relatively new concept based on flawed evidence going back to the days of Ancel Keys and his (in)famous study.
Fat definitely isn’t the enemy and is a vital part of your day to day diet. Your body cannot function without fat and understanding that 60% of your brain is made up of fat and cholesterol helps to see how important it is.
So, can we eat all types of fat? How much fat should we eat? What benefits do we get from eating Fat?
Fat and Protein are the most satiating nutrients whilst Carbohydrates are the least. Fat gives you a steady supply of energy for the body rather than the rush of energy coupled with a huge Insulin spike. This means you stop the food cravings and the mood swings that are experienced on a High Carbohydrate diet.
By consuming more fat you will feel fuller, longer therefore will be less likely to go through huge peaks and troughs of hunger.
Use Saturated Fats for cooking
Saturated fats are found in red meat, cream, butter, ghee, lard, tallow, eggs and coconut oil.
These are the most stable of the fats, they have a long shelf life and have a much higher smoke point, making them ideal for cooking with. A smoke point is where the oil begins to become rancid and toxic.
Medium Chain Triglycerides
Medium Chain Triglycerides are a type of saturated fat that is predominantly found in coconut oil They are easily digested by the body and will move straight to the liver to be used as an isttant source of energy. Smaller quantities can also be found in butter.
Easy to digest, support gut health, have antioxidant properties.
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
These can be found in avocados, olives, beef and nuts. They are also found in extra virgin olive oil and macademia nut oil but should be used as a cold dressing. They are not as stable as a saturated fat therefore have a lower smoke point, hence cold use or low heat.
Anti inflammatory, improves insulin resistance, helps moods, helps with weight loss.
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (polyunsaturated fats) are both essential to the body, however, with our Western diets the balance is wrong. Ideally we should have a 1:1 ratio of Omega 3 and 6 but the likelihood is with a high carb diet it’s more 1:15 (Omega 3:6). Studies show that an imbalance of these two fats are associated with heart disease, stroke and other auto immune diseases.
The better the ratio, the better your health. Trying to get a good source of omega 3 in your diet is vital – you will already be getting a plentiful amount of omega 6 in your diet. Foods such as wild salmon, grass fed meats, walnuts or a good fish oil supplement.
Help with cognitive function, links to helping with dementia, help with fat loss and insulin resistance, anti-inflammatory properties.
Avoid unhealthy oils
Vegetable oils, margarine, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, sunflower oil, soybean oil are all processed and should be avoided. They are oxidised; can cause inflammation; can increase the risk of CAD and are associated with the risk of cancer.
Some transfats are found in nature which can be beneficial, however, any that are artificial are a by product of manufacturing processes.
Artificial, inflammatory, linked to heart disease, linked to stroke, found in fast foods.