Fear of fat

People hear the word ‘fat’ in relation to nutrition and generally run away screaming, but there is no need for this reaction. Many fats are good for us and our bodies need fat in order to absorb nutrients, as well as providing an excellent source of energy!

‘Fat’ is practically a swear word that no one wants used in conjunction with their physique. However, dietary fats are not all bad; many of them are essential to give your body energy and to support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and keep your body warm, while some nutrients, like vitamins A, D and E, can only be absorbed with the help of fat.

Fat is also a source of essential fatty acids, for example, omega-3. Also, fats help your body absorb and produce important hormones.

This means a small amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet, but high amounts of fat need not to be consumed. Because fats are so energy-dense, consuming high levels of fat, regardless of the type, can lead to taking in too many calories. That can lead to weight gain or being overweight.

While our bodies need fats in our diets for energy and the absorption of nutrients, we need to pay attention to the types of fats we eat. Saturated fats are the fats we must avoid or reduce in our diets as they are bad for your heart and raise LDL cholesterol levels, which is the bad type of cholesterol. These are found in animal products and processed foods like meat, dairy and chips.

Unsaturated fats are healthy fats, and these are found in things like avocados, olives, nuts and oily fish. These can actually work to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels as well as raise your good cholesterol levels.

So stick to healthy fats like those found in nuts and oily fish, and keep an eye on other naughty fats that might be sneaking into your diet, such as that found in meat and cheese, so you can control excess weight gain.


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