Fats The Practical Nutritionist


Healthy Fats, Unhealthy Fats

The practical nutritionist

Healthy Fat is crucial for a healthy body. Among other things, fat is a source of  energy, it supports the building of cell membranes and is part of the myelin sheath  – a fatty substance protecting nerves. These nerves sends signals from the brain to different parts of the body, if the myelin sheath is compromised it impacts the transmission of messages. Healthy fat helps to reduce inflammation, is  good brain food, supports hormones and helps with the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Of course, if fat is so good for you, why was it demonized for decades and why do many food companies still promote low fat as healthy. Well, not all fats are equal and while healthy fats help to create a healthy body, unhealthy “bad” fats do the opposite.

Let’s take a look at healthy fats and what you should be eating to get enough of them.

  • Monounstaurated fats and polyunstaurated fats are two types that should be included into the diet daily. These types of fats can be found in food like nuts, seeds, avocado, olives and olive oil (eat raw or cooked on a low heat).
  • Omega 3 fatty acids is a type of polyunstaurated fat and can be found fish like salmon, sardines, trout. Flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds are good options too. Supplements are also available, for example, cod liver oil it should be stored in  a dark glass jar and stored in a refrigerator.

Fat in moderation.

  • Saturated fats are good in moderation. Coconut oil, butter (grass fed), organic whole milk , preferably from grass fed cows, animal fats and brazil nuts. Saturated fats can also be found in baked goods and many dairy products like cheese so be cautious, these types of items should not be eaten daily.

Let’s talk bad fats.  They should be avoided as they can cause inflammation and increase the risk of heart disease.

  • Hydrogenated fats (can be referred to as partially hydrogenated) are unnatural fats due to the way they are processed. The human body is unable to correctly identify these “manufactured” fats and thus cannot properly use them and often can’t dispose of them properly. Where do you find these fats? In a great many processed foods.  If you’re not already a label reader when food shopping then you need to start. These fats need to be kept out of your diet as much as possible and when looking at labels, here are some of the items to try and avoid or at least minimize: baked goods, fried foods, vegetable shortening and margarine.
  • Trans-fats tend to be found in many packaged foods and commercially baked goods. Even heating oils at home can transform healthy oil into a bad one. Again, read labels.

A warning about low fat options.

Adding fat to food tends to make it taste good. When the food industry decided to start ditching fat it started adding sugar to improve the taste. Since Low fat labelled foods tend to be replaced with sugar, you can end up with too much refined sugar in your diet. Excess sugar is hard on the liver, is stored as fat by the body, increases the risk of diabetes and a host of other illnesses. Therefore avoid things marketed as low fat food.

A final note.

The body needs fat – good, healthy fat. It performs many functions in the body and can help you feel full during meals and reduce over-consumption. So what is not to like about fat?

The Practical Nutritionist – personal, and above all, practical nutritional advice and services to help you improve your health.

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