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Fat Facts - Separate fact vs. fiction

Fat comes in two main forms: unsaturated and saturated fat – with both demanding a rightful spot on your plate. As it is a macronutrient that your body needs to function, we should be looking at 25 percent-35 percent of our daily calories coming from fat, with no more than 10 percent coming from saturated fat.

Most healthy fats can be distinguished as liquids at room temperature, whilst in comparison the saturated fats are solid. These good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish, and they differ from saturated fats by having fewer hydrogen atoms bonded to their carbon chains. In terms of the beneficial fats, they can be categorised into two groups: Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats.

Still need convincing to reorganise your eating regime to fit in these vital macronutrients? Well, I’ll let science do the talking. By replacing unsaturated fats in your diet and adding these healthy fats, you would improve your cholesterol profile through reducing the harmful LDL cholesterol, which would ultimately decrease the risk of heart disease. As well as this, it also lowers triglycerides. You can find increase the amount of Polyunsaturated fats in your diet by eating sources such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and un-hydrogenated soybean oil. And for Monounsaturated Fats, these are prominent in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils. These Essential fatty acids (EFAs) will help keep you feeling full and will maintain proper brain cognition, whilst also cushioning vital organs, assisting with absorbing fat-soluble vitamins as well as numerous other benefits

Opposing these healthy fats, are the notorious Unsaturated and Trans Fat’s which can have negative effects on our health. A diet rich in saturated fats can drive up total cholesterol, and tip the balance toward more harmful LDL cholesterol, which prompts blockages to form in arteries in the heart and elsewhere in the body. For that reason, most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat to under 10% of calories a day.

Imagine eating foods rich in a specific ingredient which increases the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol, whilst also creating inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Doesn’t sound good, now does it? Well unfortunately for us, this ingredient does exist – and it’s called Trans Fat. Food products such as doughnuts, cookies, pies, cakes, and commercially fried foods may all contain large amounts of trans fats. So, from a health perspective, we should try to cut this type of saturated fat out of our diets completely.

So what does fat actually do for you?

1. It's a major fuel source for your body (meaning it provides a lot of calories) and also the main way you store energy. 2. You need fat to help you absorb certain nutrients, such as fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) and antioxidants (like lycopene and beta-carotene). 3. Fat is important in giving your cells structure. 4. Omega-3 fats, a type of unsaturated fat, are important for optimum nerve, brain and heart function. One type of fat you don’t need? Trans fats, an artificial kind of fat found in partially hydrogenated oils.

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