We've been told for years and years that eating fat makes you fat because, well, you are what you eat... right? Wrong. Yet people are still scared of fat regardless of the increasing number of studies being released to prove that fat isn't the devil. For as long as we can remember we've been told that saturated fat causes obesity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol and a whole host of heart problems. In fact, there has been so much confusion and controversy surrounding fat in the diet that most people just simply don't know what to believe anymore!
When you think back to how our grandparents and older ancestors ate, they never bought low-fat milk or meat. Instead, they drank full-cream milk and ate organic grass-fed meat straight from the farm. None of this '0% fat' crap we see everywhere nowadays. I think we need to take a leaf out of their book by ditching the low-fat products and going back to eating real food. Why? Because fat is not only 'not bad' for us, but it's actually GOOD for us.
And if I need to convince you even further, here's a few truths about fat:
- Fats are essential for vitamin absorption. Vitamins A, D, E & K are fat-soluble which means they require fat to be properly absorbed and utilised by the body. Therefore, we should be eating a portion of fat with our vegetables to ensure we are getting as much nutrition from the food we are eating as possible.
- Not all fats are created equal! It is still important to make sure we are eating the right kinds of fat. The 'good' fats are saturated, monounsaturated & polyunsaturated, and these are found in foods such as avocados, olive oil, butter, animal fats, coconut oil, fish & nuts. The 'bad' fats are trans fats which are created when polyunsaturated fats are damaged due to heat and these are therefore found in fried and processed foods such as cake, biscuits, cereal bars, and deep-fried food.
- Fat does not make you fat. In fact, it can actually aid with weight loss. Good fats slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream, leaving you feeling full for much longer and therefore reducing the need and desire to snack in between meals. Fat also fuels our metabolism and isn't addictive (unlike fructose). However, it is important to point out that fat is also an extremely concentrated form of energy and is therefore calorie-dense, so we need less of it than carbs. Go easy on those nuts - just have a small portion.
- Saturated fat does not cause heart disease. There are more and more research studies being released to prove that eating saturated fat is not linked to heart disease e.g.
Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal foundNO evidence to link the consumption of saturated fat with the risk of heart disease.
Analysis published in the British Medical Journal found no association between high levels of saturated fat in the diet and heart disease and other life-threatening diseases, including type-2 diabetes.
Furthermore, in a 2014 editorial published in the Open Heart journal, research scientist and doctor of Pharmacy James J. DiNicolantonio reviewed the cardiometabolic consequences of replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates and found that it resulted in an increased risk of coronary heart disease, impaired glucose tolerance, higher body fat, weight gain and obesity (just to name a few). It is important to note that there have been research studies to show a link between trans fats consumption and disease, hence why I said earlier that not all fat is created equal.
So what should you take from all of this? If you are going to make just one simple change, I ask that next time you are doing your food shop you put down the low-fat yogurt or the skimmed milk. Don't be scared of the word fat!
If you want any dietary advice or have any questions then please leave me a comment or drop me an email on email@example.com :)