I hope you enjoyed and took something away from the previous blog on carbohydrates, here is number 2 of 3 and today we are going to be talking about fats. We will be covering the different types & their benefits; as well as debunking the myth that fats make you fat.
Let’s start with the different types of fats, we have 3 types; unsaturated, saturated and trans fats. As touched on previously in the last blog, everything in moderation is absolutely fine, however as always there are some better options nutritionally and that is the same here with fats.
You will often see unsaturated fats labelled as the “healthy” fats & that is because they have many benefits within the body such as improving cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation & helping to protect against cardiovascular diseases. Most of the unsaturated fats tend to be liquid at room temperature, so think of your cooking oils (olive, sunflower) but are also found in nuts and seeds. There are two types of unsaturated, monounsaturated & polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated can be found within olive oils, avocados and many different types of nuts. Polyunsaturated are not made within your body, so these need to be consumed through diet, these are your omega 3 & 6 fatty acids so are most commonly found fish such as salmon or sardines.
Saturated fats tend to be most commonly found in meat and dairy products such as the fatty parts of red meat, butter, creams and also in coconut oil. Whilst it is not confirmed that saturated fats lead to a higher risk of heart disease, it is recommended that you limit these and try to incorporate more unsaturated fats.
Trans fats are formed from a process called hydrogenation, which is the heating of liquid vegetable oils in the presence of a hydrogen gas and a catalyst. These can be reheated many times without losing form and this is why they are ideal for cooking fast foods. If there are any types of fats you wanted to avoid then these are them as they have no health benefits and can contribute to heart disease and inflammatory issues.
Now we have a better understanding of the different types of fats, it is time to debunk the myth that eating fats will make you fat. Fat does contain more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates at 9kcal per gram but this does not mean it will automatically make you gain weight. You would also gain weight from overeating foods high in carbohydrates or protein. Weight loss/gain all boils down to an energy deficit/surplus, so essentially how many calories you are consuming. So, as long as you are consuming less or equal to the calories your body needs, you won’t gain weight even if you do eat a lot of foods containing fat. Nuts & seeds are a great source of healthy fats, however it can be very easy to eat 4-500 calories of these without even realising. A handful of nuts can sometimes easily amount to 200 calories as they are more calorific than other foods, so just be aware of portion sizes when consuming.