We’ve been conditioned to be afraid of fat and avoid it, opting for low-fat food where possible, yet there are a few key foods you can include to achieve an optimal balance of the different types of fat. You need a little fat to survive, some of what you consume is turned directly into usable energy and some fats are worse for you and can lead to health complications.
What is fat?
Fat is one of three macronutrients, which should make up your daily balanced diet (Protein, Carbohydrates, Fat). You need all three in your nutrition plan, a diet which cuts out one of these groups is not sustainable long term, and if you get results from eating that way you’ll be likely to put weight back on as soon as you start eating all food groups again. The key is balance, moderation and consistency.
Types of fat
“Fats can be divided into three classes: saturated fats, trans fats and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats, usually found in animal products, including meat and milk, increase your body’s levels of bad cholesterol. Trans fats, which form when vegetable oil hardens, are found in fried foods, processed foods, spreads and baked goods. Saturated fats and trans fats should be limited in a healthy diet. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, found in fish, nuts, olive oil, canola oil and vegetable oil, are considered ‘good fats.’”1
For heart health and weight control, we need to minimise our intake of saturated and trans fat. However, this does not mean unsaturated plant fat can be consumed freely. The average Australian adult needs just 40-60g of fat each day. Here are some suggestions for getting the balance right.
- Choose lean meats
- Avoid fatty sausages, salamis, processed meats, hard cheese and creamy cheese
- Take a fish oil supplement
- Eat oily fish three times a week
- Eat a handful of nuts every day
- Choose grain-based bread and crackers
- Dress salad and veggies with Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
- Avoid biscuits, cakes and pastries made using palm oil or hydrogenated vegetable shortening
- Avoid fast food outlets that cook with lard or hydrogenated vegetable oils
If you cut fats out of your diet it will make you crave naughty treats, so include fats in a couple of your meals a day to avoid that horrible feeling of being unsatisfied.
Source: 1 = www.livestrong.com