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Fats, the good, the bad and the ugly!



So fat is not so bad after all!  I just wish it was known by another name as we instantly associate it with the wobbly stuff around our hips, bums and tums that we work so hard at to shift!

The thing is, just as we have seen with carbohydrates, not all fats are created equal. Good fats  help keep you slim, keep your skin healthy, fill you up and carry the essential fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K into your body.  These types of fat are known as the  unsaturated fats and contain a group, essential fatty acids, which as their name suggests, the body cannot do without!

You’ve probably heard of omega 3 and omega 6 and these are essential  for practically every  system in your body, amongst other things they help.

  • control blood cholesterol and fat levels
  • improve immune function
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Maintain water balance
  • Good eye health
  • Proper brain and nerve function

They are found in  nuts, seeds, oils, meat, cold water  oily fish, seafood and avocados, many of the foods which have traditionally been avoided when trying to drop a few pounds.

The key is getting the correct balance as omega 6 EFA are found in most cooking oils and therefore many processed and baked goods, so a typical western diet is generally high in these but much lower in the omega 3s found in oily fish, grass fed meats and flax seeds and nuts.

Next we have the saturated fat, usually solid at room temperature and from animal source – apart from coconut and palm oil. Coconut oil is now seen as a health food due to the make up of the fatty acids but more about that another time!

Our bodies have no real need for saturated fat and it is too much of this that is linked with a higher risk of heart disease, a rise in bad cholesterol levels and obesity.  Found in biscuits, cake, ice cream, full fat dairy, meat, meat products, cheese etc. It’s a case of moderation and choosing the good natural stuff, lean cuts of meat, no skin on poultry etc etc.

By far the worst kind of fat is the dreaded Trans Fat or hydrogenated oils.  This is a cheap oil which has hydrogen pumped through it to produce a firmer end product. Often found in margarines,  ready meals, biscuits, cakes , in fact most processed foods that have a long shelf life. If you see anything that has hydrogenated vegetable/partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or fat as a listed ingredient, best to leave it on the shelf.

So remember good fats do not make us fat,  (in moderation of course)  its the high sugar or highly processed trans fats that do that.  Eat Simple natural, unrefined foods for all round good health.