The Truth About Fat
Over the past few decades, the diet industry has waged a fierce war on fat, leading consumers to believe that cutting down on your consumption of fat is the key to weight loss. However, it’s important to know that not all fats are unhealthy and in contrast, many “healthy, low-fat foods” sometimes do more harm than good to your overall health. So, let’s look at the real truth about fat.
Historically, high-fat diets have long been linked to overweight and obesity because they are so calorie or energy dense. 1g of fat will give you 9kCals compared to 1g protein = 4 kCals and the same for carbohydrate. On the other hand, new studies are suggesting that certain fats can have a positive influence on weight.
The fats you eat give your body energy that it needs to work properly. Most importantly, you need fat to keep your skin and hair healthy, as it helps you absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are fat-soluble vitamins.
The fats your body gets from your food give your body essential fatty acids called linoleic and linolenic acid. They are called “essential” because your body cannot make them itself or work without them. To sum up, your body needs them for brain development, controlling inflammation, and blood clotting. It is recommended to reduce our intake of Saturated Fats and avoid hydrogenated or trans fats completely. General health advice is for our intake of total fat to be 20% – 35% of our total daily energy intake.
Research is continuing to evolve on dietary fat, but some facts are clear. In short, dietary fat, also known as fatty acids, can be found in foods from both plants and animals. To clarify, while we used to be told that fats only have negative effects on our bodies, it has now been proven that certain types of fat can offer significant health benefits.
This type of helpful fat is found in a variety of foods and oils. In addition, research has consistently shown that eating foods that contain monounsaturated fat can improve your blood cholesterol level and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. These foods include:
- nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans)
- vegetable oils (olive oil, peanut oil)
- peanut butter and almond butter
Plant-based foods and oils are the primary sources of this fat. Similar to monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat can decrease your risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. For instance, a certain type of this fat, called omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to be particularly beneficial for your heart. The following types of fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids:
In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, you can find polyunsaturated fat in the following foods, which contain omega-6 fatty acids:
- seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds)
The Truth About Fat – Fat For Weightloss
The ketogenic, or keto, in recent years, has become one of the most popular diets in the industry. It is done by following a very low carb, high-fat eating pattern, and has been shown to offer several impressive health benefits including boosting metabolism and reducing appetite.
Most importantly, the keto diet restricts your carb intake in favor of fat primarily and protein. They’re typically higher in protein than low-fat diets, which is important, as protein can help curb your appetite, raise your metabolism, and conserve muscle mass. For example, our body begins using fatty acids rather than carbs for energy by converting them into ketones. This process is called ketosis. Although this particular way of eating is quite popular and works well for many, it doesn’t suit everyone and can also be quite difficult to sustain long term.
If this style of eating is of interest to you and you need a little help with variety and choice, we have a number of dishes, snacks, and sides that are packed full of healthy fats and some that are even keto-friendly! Below is a 4 Week 5 Day Meal Plan, designed by our expert nutritionists which favours high fat and high protein, with a lower carb consumption.
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Business Development Manager
Annie is our Business Development Manager here at GourmetFuel. Annie completed her Bachelor’s degree in Food Innovation at the Technology University of Dublin. Before joining the team at GourmetFuel, she worked for a successful start-up company based in New York City where she gained valuable experience in product development, food safety, and allergen management and control. Her areas of interest are food business sustainability, health promotion, and nutrition research.
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