In the Western World we have only just discovered that FAT is not the evil nutrient we once thought it was.
We need fat to transport Vitamins A, D, E & K – all essential nutrients that our bodies need to function. It is fat that carry around these vitamins to the cells in the body and also help to ignite hormones to function.
There are two types of fat – Saturated and Unsaturated.
Saturated fat is normally found in animal products such as Dairy foods & Meat, but is also found in coconut oil – as I will talk about below.
Unsaturated fat consists of mono-unsaturated fat which come from plant sources such Nuts, Seeds, Avocado & Olives. Polyunsaturated-fat consists of oily fish such as Salmon and Tuna.
We should consume around 50-70g of fat from the above daily (preferably from the unsaturated categories).
Then we have a type of unsaturated fat called Trans Fat, these are the BAD Fats. This is the fat we NEED to stay away from. Trans Fats are formed by the hydrogenation of vegetable oils during the manufacture of processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, doughnuts and pastries.
These ‘Trans Fats’ which were once ‘Good Fats’ now tend to act like Saturated Fats, a major cause of Cardiovascular Disease – the number 1 killer in the Western world. There are currently no laws enforcing companies to list Trans Fats in the ingredients list on product packaging, yet another reason to stick to a whole foods diet.
There is no ‘1 size fits all answer’ with regards to the amount of fat we should have in our diet. We are all individual and may have specific needs. If you look at a Fitness model’s diet it will be a good percentage of fat, at least 30%. If you have high cholesterol you would need to cut out Saturated fat altogether.
Good fats such as CLA (found in pasture fed meats and dairy) & Flaxseed oil can be indulged in more frequently due to their enormous health benefits. We also have coconut oil (even though its a saturated fat) is still a great option, and has many uses including dietary, healing and cosmetic.
Some studies have shown that Coconut oil may help reduce waist size. The reason is because it is a healthy type of medium chain fatty acid which your body burns quickly for energy. It also can’t be stored in adipose tissue (belly fat).
Fish oil, an Omega 3 fatty acid is the most beneficial of all the fats. The heart foundation recommends all Aussies to consume at least 500mg of Fish Oil per day to prevent and treat heart disease and high cholesterol. If you don’t eat oily fish at least 2-3 times per week, you can still achieve this by taking 1 x Healthy Mummy Fish Oil capsule a day, (6 capsules a day if you suffer from pain and inflammation).
So please don’t be scared to include ‘good fats’ in your daily diet. They have their place just like carbs, protein, veggies and fruit
Written by,  Elisha Danine, Nutritionist
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