Hi Green Team!
This week, it’s all about fats.
“Eat low fat”, “Eat high fat”, “Butter is bad”, “Coconut oil is bad”, “Coconut oil is the miracle fat”, ‘Saturated or unsaturated?’, ‘Nuts and avocado for healthy fats’.
If you are confused when it comes to fats, I don’t blame you!
For the average consumer, the discussion on fats can be overwhelming leaving some people to make unhealthy choices (avoiding all fats or eating only low fat products which are usually high in processed sugars). Lucky for you, as a trained Nutritionist, my job is to clarify what really is good for your health.
So how about we break down the ‘fat frenzy’ and simplify the guidelines so that you know what to eat and how much?
Firstly, let’s agree that a healthy diet and lifestyle, which we should all be aiming towards, is only achievable through practice and mindfulness. This goal of living healthy and eating healthy should produce vitality, mental clarity, energy and excitement without leaving you feeling lethargic, acidic, or stricken by disease and medication dependent. A healthy lifestyle is not a burden, it is a mindful choice.
Fats is an essential nutrient and should be consumed for protection of vital organs while allowing the metabolism and absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K inclusive that they keep us fuller for longer and aid in production and balancing of our hormones.
Now, let’s get straight to it: What are the fats from our diet and how much fat to eat?
Saturated fats come from animal products such as dairy and yes your milk and cheese, beef, chicken, and plant sources like coconut oil. With heart disease being the number one killer of humans in the US and number 2 in the UK it is important to bear in mind that over consumption of saturated fat raises our LDL cholesterol which promotes poor circulation by increasing risk of blockages within arteries. Coconut oil is good due to its antibacterial properties and like all saturated fats should be consumed moderately and within daily recommendations.
Unsaturated fats which have been proven to be the best for your heart and comes in forms such as nuts, seeds, avocado, salmon/oily fish and olive oil. They have the potential to raise healthy HDL cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation. Our bodies prefer to use this type of fat as energy and has been suggested to work well in combination with exercise for performance and result.
What fats to eat?
Mostly unsaturated fats while I will stress again to get from a variety of these sources for great nutritional range and maximum benefits. Seeds which contain protein and fibre would be the best bet, while olive oil has always been recommended due to it’s heart healthy and anti inflammatory qualities based on studies of the Mediterranean diet for years.
Should I buy Low Fat?
Low fat and very low fat dairy and meats would be a better choice if you consume dairy regularly as they cut the saturates down really low by skimming off excess fats. However, low fat products like yogurts and processed foods will remove fat but replace them with sugars. So, read your labels to see if the low fat really means high sugar. Naturally lower in fat dairy product include mozzarella, feta, parmesan, cottage cheese. Keeping dairy and animal products to a small piece of the diet is really better than it being a large part as recent studies are suggesting for improved heath and energy.
How much should I eat?
Fats are the most energy dense of all nutrients (highest in calories) and may not always have beneficial nutrients if we are choosing from the low quality sources (when we buy snacks with vegetable oil, junk food, bakery goods) . If we are consuming too many fats that are not of high quality we are likely to be in a calorie surplus leading to weight gain and low nutrient intake.
Dietary Guidelines include that Males intake should not surplus 95g fat of those no more than 30g from saturates. Females should not surplus a total of 70g from fats with not more than 20g from saturates.
For a simpler visual think consciously about 1-2 Tbs in a day for your quality fats and know that you most likely will be consuming enough as you go about your dietary habits.
Which fats to avoid?
TRANS FATS are the most dangerous and should be avoided inclusive of Hydrogenated vegetable oil, Low grade corn oil, vegetable oil, margarine, soy bean oil. Think most fried foods (Fried chicken, doubles barra and chips) and most bakery goods such as pies, pastries, desserts).
My Tips to You for Healthy Fat Intake
Keep a balance and a wide range of sources and aim to control you portions and you will be okay. Balance is your goal. Olive oil has always come up as number one for heart health, but eating the food in its whole forms such as the seeds and nuts give you the extra boost of fibre and protein, especially if you are plant based or vegan. Coconut oil has antibacterial benefits due to its Lauric acid compounds, although it is high in saturated fats.
Eat more of these or aim to split your intake by having 1/3 of each type of fat if that perception works better for you.
Mono unsaturated fats ::Macadamias, pecans, almonds, cashews, pistachios, tahini, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, olive, olive oil, avocado.
Polyunsaturated fats :: Fish oil, hemp seeds, algae oils, safflower oil, sunflower seeds, peanuts, cold pressed canola oil, soy nuts, walnuts, flax oil, chia seeds, brazil nuts.
Do you have any questions??? Get in touch by snapchat and add me at Annz20 or leave a comment and lets get social, I love taking the time to respond to your Q and A on a monthly basis at minimum.
Annick G. Lewis Nutritionist (BSc) & Qualified Personal Trainer
CEO & Founder Green Balance TT