When we think of fats we often think of pizza, hamburgers, fries, cakes…… and all the bad (but tasty) meals. However, fats are an essential part of our diet and is important for good health.
There are different types of fats, with some being healthier than others. Consuming too large amounts of fats, including healthy fats, can contribute to weight gain. Unfortunately, it is important to know majority of foods that say they’re “low-fat” or “fat-free” such as milk and yoghurt just being an example are often compensated by being higher in sugar.
There are different types of fats:
Saturated fats: Eating large amounts of saturated fat is linked with an increased risk of heart disease and high blood cholesterol levels. We find saturated fat in various foods such as milk, cheese, fatty cuts of meats. Many packaged foods are often high in saturated fats, them being potato chips, pastries, pies, biscuits, pizza and the list is endless!
Unsaturated fats: Don’t be alarmed there are also fats in which an important part of a healthy diet. These fats help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels (among other health benefits) when they replace saturated fats in the diet. We find unsaturated fats in foods such as some nuts (cashews and almonds), olive oil, avocados, oily fish etc.
Trans fats: Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been processed and as a result, act like saturated fats. Trans fats are found in many packaged foods.
Cholesterol: Another type of fat found in found and also our blood. Cholesterol has many important functions in the body but having high levels of the wrong type of cholesterol in the blood increases heart disease risk.
Rather than seeing fat as the enemy, it is important to know why we need healthy fats. Fat help to fuel the body and help absorb some vitamins. They also are the building blocks of hormones and they insulate the body.