Fat: Good vs bad
Our complex relationship with fat can prevent us from getting the nutrients we need.
Over recent years, our relationship with fatty foods has become even more complicated. It’s become something we need to eliminate and replace with 'fat-free' versions of our favorite foods, while at the same time something we need to eat way more of, with the arrival of new diets like Keto and Paleo.
So what's the truth about fat?!
The truth is that a healthy amount of fat is necessary in any diet - as long as you're eating right type.
Fat: The good, the bad and the ugly
Unlike carbohydrates, the human body can store fat like there is no tomorrow - which is a good thing! Our ability to store fat is one reason why humans have survived and thrived as a species. Fat has played a huge role in our brain development and is part of the reason why we can run and walk for extraordinarily long distances.
Did you know?
Fat is an important fuel for most of the cells in our body and obligatory for muscle function. It protects our major organs like our heart, liver, spleen, kidney, brain, and spinal cord by insulating them against trauma. This kind of protective fat makes up to four percent of our body’s total fat storage.
You also need fat to absorb certain vitamins, such as Vitamin A, D, K and E. These vitamins are fat soluble, meaning they must be digested with fat, otherwise the body can’t absorb them effectively.
Where to find the good fats
You can find healthy fats in olives, avocados, nuts and seeds, peanut butter and oils like sesame seed, coconut and olive oil. If you're not vegan, you can also find healthy fat in foods like fish, like sardines, milk and eggs.
In order to process and digest vitamins and minerals while avoiding gaining extra weight, you'll need to be consuming the healthy fats listed above. Fat is one of the base macronutrients that your body needs also to optimize its physical performance, working alongside proteins and carbs to give you all the health benefits you need to live well.
Fats to avoid
There are some foods that as tasty as they may be, aren’t that good for you. Some unhealthy fats to look out for include: cake, pastries, processed foods (ie. packaged and microwaveable), hamburgers, fries etc. These foods have an unhealthy amount of fat in them and are often processed using oils that cause them to lose any health benefits from exposure to air, light, and heat.
Too much fat
In some extreme cases, there can be side effects from an overly fatty diet. The symptoms of excess fat consumption can include poor skin, hair and nails. Your immune system can also suffer from too much fat and induce a hormone imbalance, deregulating important bodily functions.
The moral of this long, fat story is to embrace dietary fats in a healthy, manageable way. While a treat won't hurt every now and again, aim to ensure that 90% of your fat intake comes from healthy, natural fats like those listed above and your body will thank you.