With all the hype around high fat, low carbohydrate diets I thought it might useful to give real insight around what fats you should and shouldn’t be avoiding…
How many types of fat are there?
There are 4 major dietary fat in the foods that are consumed;
- Saturated fats
- Trans fats
- Monounsaturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
NOTE: There is 9 calories per gram of fat irrespective of type of fat
Are there any fats that can be part of a healthy diet?
Answer: Yes and healthy fats should be an important part to every diet, you just need to ensure you are choosing the correct fats and quantity. Aim to include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated from foods such as fish, legumes, vegetable & low fat dairy products.
- Use oils such as rapeseed, olive, sunflower & sesame.
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashew, walnuts)
- Soy milk & tofu
- Seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin)
Try to avoid trans fats as much as possible
How do I know if there are trans fats in my food?
Check food ingredients: if it states partially hydrogenated oil then the food does contain trans fat.
Other foods well know to include trans fat are;
- Baked goods i.e. cookies, pizza, cakes etc.
- Snack foods i.e. crisps, crackers
- Solid fats i.e. margarine
- Pre-mixed products i.e. (pancake & cake mixes)
- Avoid eating fried foods and “fast foods”
NOTE: Don’t be afraid to ask a restaurant to cook your meal in healthier oil.
What’s the deal with saturated fat?
There is an on-going debate about saturated fats. Studies have published results showing that those who eat saturated fat do not experience more of an incidence of cardiovascular disease compared to those that who eat less. A meta-analysis of 16 studies showed that eating whole-milk dairy products is linked to less body fat & lower levels of obesity. This is because full fat dairy can make you feel “full” for longer and as a consequence reduces overall intake through-out the entire day.
My take home points are
- Enjoy your food in moderation, fat is not the enemy, but try to avoid trans fats as much as possible.
- Don’t swap good quality fats such as full fat dairy for refined carbohydrates or sugary snacks. This would leave you hungry later on and risk overeating.
Elly Rees BSc MSc SENr
Better Body Group, Sevenoaks