Many of us grew up thinking of fat as “bad” and something to be avoided?
A healthier pattern of eating is not fat free, but it is true that some kinds of fats are better for your health than others.
Saturated fats tend to be found in red meats, dairy products like cheese, and a few oils such as coconut and palm and they can increase your risk of developing heart disease and high cholesterol.
Unsaturated fats tend to be found in plants (like avocado), seafood, seeds, nuts and oils such as olive and rapeseed. They provide essential nutrients and many health benefits.
Nutritional guidelines recommend that around 20% to 35% of your total energy intake should come from fats, and the majority should come from healthier sources.
Many of us probably remember how 15 to 25 years ago, fats in general had really bad press!
But if we believe that all fat is “bad,” we don’t get to see the big picture, including all of the benefits of healthy fats.
Even more, if we avoid all saturated fats, it can lead us to feeling deprived. What’s most important is finding the balance that works for you.
When we’re aware of the different sources of saturated and unsaturated fats, it can help us make healthier choices and makes lower calorie swaps easier.
Saturated fats are found in foods like coconut oil, red meat, butter, and snacks like biscuits or crisps. Unsaturated fats are found in foods including olives, peanuts, rapeseed oil, seafood, nuts, and avocados.
- Look at how you could incorporate healthy fats into your eating pattern.
- Using the examples above, where can you swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats?
- It’s important to pay attention to portion sizes, even with healthy fats as they are significantly denser in calories for a small portion
- There are some once-in-awhile foods high in saturated fat that you many of us have no interest in swapping? (e.g., ice cream, cake) Look at how to incorporate them, rather than excluding them totally.
Fat has the highest calories per gram of all foods so we really need to be in control of the portion size.
You can kid yourself that the amount of spread that you put on a hot slice of toast is only a teaspoon but try measuring a teaspoon of fat and then try spreading it toast and see the difference and the same can be said for pouring a teaspoon of fat into a frying pan!
Did you know if you eat 1 packet of crisps every day for a year then you would be eating 5 litres of oil! If you really want to lose that 1lb of fat then you really need to be critical about the portion size of the fat you are eating