For years we’ve been told that eating fat makes us fat, and products on the shelves yell ‘low-fat’ in order to attract attention. If the low-fat way of eating worked, people now would be leaner than ever but in fact, we are now fatter then ever, despite the belief enmeshed in our society that eating fat will make us fat.. so more and more people are now realising that maybe we’ve identified the wrong cause of obesity and that eating fat, can in fact help use to lose weight.
So what are the good fats and what should be avoiding? (thanks to www.wellnessmama.com)
Long thought to be the baddie, but really, natural saturated fats – avocado, butter/diary, coconut oil and fat from meat – are necessary to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (Vit A, D, E, and K) and calcium (that’s right, you can’t absorb the calcium from your low-fat milk, you need the fat for calcium uptake), optimum immune function and cell repair.
Along with a low grain diet, fat will help you to lose weight, increase tolerance to the sun (tan better), clear up skin issues like acne or eczema, increase energy, reduce food cravings, and encourage peaceful sleep.
Monounsaturated fats are found in oils like olive, sunflower, sesame, flax, peanut, safflower, etc. These oils are not entirely made of monounsaturated fats but also have some levels of saturated and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are great, but only if you don’t heat them to high temperatures as this can cause breakdown and free radicals (the stuff that accelerates aging and cell damage/disorders.)
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
These are found in grains, soybeans, corn, peanuts etc (usually labeled corn, cottonseed, canola, vegetable, soybean, peanut etc). They are liquid at cold temperatures, go rancid easily and break down into free radicals when heated. These are also the oils usually used heated to high temperatures to fry things like potatoes and grains and used in processed ‘foods’ like margarine and store bought cakes, biscuits, packaged snacks and takeaway foods etc.
Most of these oils are also hydrogenated to increase shelf life but makes them basically unusable to the body since we can’t metabolize them. These oils not only create free-radical damage, they also do not provide any relevant nutrition and can’t be processed by the body.
Best to avoid these fats.
Omega3s and Omega6s
Omega-3s are found in things like fish, nuts and types of algae. Omega-6s are found in grains, corn, and animals fed grains and corn. Omegas must come from diet – our bodies can’t make them.
Both are necessary to our bodies, but most people get them in a balance that is very unhealthy. Ideally, a ratio of 1:1 of omega-6s and omega-3s is great but if you can get a 3:1 ratio that would be good. If kept within this balance, both are healthy and necessary for optimal body function. The average American diet provides a ratio of up to 35:1 (omega-6 to omega-3).
Supplementing with Omega-3s helps balance the body’s need for both in a 1:1 ratio which you might not be getting in your normal diet. This can help with brain function, inflammation, chemical balance in the brain, and energy levels.
The hydrogenation process turns unsaturated fats into trans fats by changing the chemical make up of the fat. These fats can be absorbed by individual cells and changes cell function. Studies connect trans fats to heart disease, obesity, abdominal fat, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Trans fats are not safe in any amount.
As Trans Fats have also recently been changed by replacing part of the fat molecule with stearic acid. These “interesterified fats” allow snack makers to place a “no-trans fat” label on their packaging. Interesterified fats are just as dangerous, if not more so.
Saturated fats from healthy meats, coconut, avocado and nuts are good. Monounsaturated fats are good as long as they are not heated. Omega-3s are vital to our body, especially because we eat them in improper ratios. Polyunsaturated fats, hydrogenated fats, trans fats and interesterified fats are actually dangerous and should be avoided.