Good fat v bad fat! as a Nutritionist, many of my clients are surprised at the advice I give them when it comes to fat in the diet. Unfortunately, the majority of ‘dieters’ still believe that fat is the enemy, it is something to avoid entirely and to even be fearful of. I find myself continuously explaining to clients that fat does not make you fat when it is the right kind.
The low fat diet industry first began in 1840, so with nearly 200 years of low fat diets, why are we as a nation fatter than ever?? The one question I ask my fat phobic clients is “so how is avoiding fat working for you?”. I think the very fact that they are sitting in a nutritionists office answers that question!! But before you raid the bakery aisle lets look at the type of fat that we should be having in our diets as well as the fat that is best to avoid.
Good Fats Unsaturated fat , polyunsaturated and monounsaturated are the good guys. Essential fatty acids or EFA’s are polyunsaturated. Only two fatty acids are known to be essential for humans: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). These can be found in a variety of sources and I encourage you to have them in abundance in your diet. Hemp. Flax. Walnuts. Almonds. Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. Olive oil. Whole grain foods. Eggs. Oily Fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring) Avocado Now here is the shocking truth for all you fat phobics EFA’s INCREASE body fat burning and DECREASE body fat production!!! Win Win!!!!
This is explained fully in the fantastic book Fats that Heal and Fats that Kill by Dr Udo Erasmus. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has been brainwashed by the dangerous low fat, no fat diet industry that will inevitably make you ill in the long term.
Dr Udo Erasmus explains fully the many benefits of consuming EFA’s of which there are far too many to go into great detail in this short article. Without going into great detail of the health benefits, the one good fat fact that usually makes my clients sit up and take note is that good fat will reduce the body fat you are carrying, particularly around the abdomen and waist, which is usually most peoples trouble spot. James Duigan is a personal trainer world renowned for keeping the likes of Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in perfect shape and health. He says: Good fats make you skinny. Having a quality Omega 3 oil everyday burns fat around your middle, reduces inflammation throughout your entire body and can reduce sugar cravings. Other super tummy fat burning foods include raw nuts, avocados and oily fish. Bad Fats Now the bad fats really are the fats to fear. These are the toxic fats that are associated with heart disease, hardening of the arteries, cellulite and obesity. This is the fat that will promote cancer, make us more susceptible to heart disease and stroke and slow you down as opposed to give you energy. So where do we find these little demons lurking??
Unfortunately, this type of fat is found in so many foods, particularly if you are eating a highly processed diet, these are known as trans fats. They’re used extensively in frying, baked goods, biscuits, icings, crisps, packaged snack foods, microwave popcorn, and some margarines. Margarine is a completely processed product, it is one molecule away from plastic and it’s real colour is grey, a yellow dye is added to make it look more like butter. Incidentally, it was also invented at the same time as the diet industry!! Research has shown that even small amounts of artificial trans fats can increase the risk for heart disease by increasing LDL”bad” cholesterol and decreasing HDL “good”cholesterol.
The best way to keep on top of the fats in your diet is to eat clean. It is very hard for bad fats to sneak into your diet when you are preparing your own meals instead of relying on packets. Eating clean does not have to be a time consuming chore. It is just as easy to grill a piece of salmon while you boil some quinoa and throw a handful of leafy green veg and half an avocado on your plate as it is to throw nutrient deficient frozen chips and chicken kiev into the oven.