Why is fat good for you? (4 minute read)

12/03/2020

Why is fat good for you? (4 minute read)

Why is fat good for you? (4 minute read)

Firstly, I should qualify this. Unsaturated fats are foods high in natural fats like walnuts, avocados, oily fish and olive oil. Saturated fats are found in processed foods, like butter, cheese, biscuits, ice cream, processed meats like burgers, bacon, chicken dippers and fatty cuts of meat. Scientists are still arguing as to whether saturated fats are worse than unsaturated fats but frankly, until more research is conducted its probably best to reduce processed foods as we know they have a plethora of ingredients that are linked to numerous health conditions like cancer, obesity, cardio-vascular issues, diabetes, skin complaints and more. However, it is about getting the balance right, so when shopping, check out the saturated-fat colour-coding on the label and choose amber or green colour-coded items. 

The key to a healthy body is the hormone insulin because it’s job is to move glucose (the sugar our body uses for energy) around your body and the quicker it does that, the less fat you burn. It also shuttles excess calories into our fat-storing cells. So, sugar and carbohydrates are quick to produce insulin, proteins are a little bit slower and fats are so slow they don’t even trigger insulin production. So to compare the two, if you eat a bowl of pasta your blood sugar will quickly rise and lots of insulin will be produced and less fat burned; if you ate a pat of butter, nothing would happen to your blood sugar or insulin level. So, a diet heavy in sugars, carbohydrates and saturated fats will increase the fat in your cells and you will look and feel heavier. A diet heavy in unsaturated fats won’t because the insulin will extract the fat from your cells to give you energy. 

Healthy fats - avocado, olive oil, nut and seed oil

So, to summarise, if you eat a diet high in fats and low in carbohydrates you create a situation where your insulin is low so your body has no choice but to raid the fat stores in your cells to create energy and every time it does that, the fat in those cells get smaller and so do you!

If you want to lose some weight you will find that a diet rich in unsaturated fats which digests slowly, will make you feel fuller for longer and so you’ll eat less overall.

Fats to absolutely avoid: 

  • Man-made trans fats found in processed baked products like pies, snacks, margarine and spreads – on the label it’ll say “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil”
  • Fat goes off and all old fat is bad for you. Why? When fat is exposed to air, oxidation occurs creating free radicals. Free radicals age our body and are linked to numerous health issues so only use clean oil to cook, chuck away old packs of butter or lard from the fridge and store you oils in well-sealed bottles. 
  • Omega-6 oils are okay in small amounts but dangerous to our health if too much is consumed. Found in margarines and vegetable oils like corn or sunflower these products are very high in omega-6 which can trigger inflammation in the body linked to obesity, cancer and heart disease.  So, regular frying of foods in these oils is not wise and should be avoided if you have health problems.  Again, it’s all about balance.  Frying in ghee and coconut oil is far better for you.

Good fats are:  dairy products, avocados, all types of nuts & seeds, and oils from olives, coconuts, nuts and ghee.

Reference:  The High Fat Diet by Zana by Morris & Helen Foster

Emily Williams
07888747338