For decades now, people have thought that eating fat makes you fat. As a result, dieters across the globe have been avoiding fatty foods like the plague.
Take a trip to the supermarket and you'll see that the shelves are jam-packed with low-fat and fat-free products. But here's a little newsflash... the latest research suggests that fats have countless benefits. From increasing good cholesterol to reducing risk of chronic disease, fats should certainly not be feared or avoided.
What do fats do?
- provide you with energy - although people often associate energy with carbohydrates, fats are the number one energy-dense macronutrient.
- satisfy your appetite - since fat takes a long time for the body to digest, it keeps you satisfied and full for longer.
- regulate body temperature – the thin layer of fat beneath the skin is used to insulate the body and protect vital organs from impact.
- help protect cell membrane.
- help maintain healthy skin, hair & nails.
Here’s our guide to healthy fats:
- Oily fish – salmon and mackerel are super-rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These heart-healthy acids boost memory, lower blood pressure and act as an anti-inflammatory.
- Avocado – although high in calories, these fruits are dense in nutrients and rich in oleic acid, meaning that good cholesterol will increase.
- Full-fat yoghurt – although 'full-fat' may sound daunting, these yogurts contain probiotic bacteria which will help to support digestive health.
- Nuts – although they are high in calories, nuts are a superhero in the world of food. Nuts such as almonds and cashews can lower bad cholesterol and assist with stabilising blood sugar levels.
- Butter – we've long referred to our love of butter as a guilty pleasure, but not anymore. It's not only rich in vitamins A and D, but it's full of fatty acids, meaning that good cholesterol is increased.
Conclusion? Foods that are high in certain fats do not make you fat.
NOTE: natural fats ( saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats ) are all great for the body. However, unnatural fats (hydrogenated fats) are not. Hydrogenated fats are found in fast-food and sugary food and are jam-packed with preservatives.
As for the bad fats...
The fats that should be saved for special occasions are the trans fatty acids and some saturated fats. These are found in processed foods... think doughnuts, biscuits, pastries, pizza dough and chips, all of which are jam-packed with preservatives. This type of fat can increase cholesterol levels and increase the risk of disease, so it's fair to say these should be eaten in moderation.
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