The word fat has so many negative connotations attached to it doesn’t it? When the scales tell you something you don’t want to see, you’re fat. If your clothes don’t fit, you’re having a fat day. Maybe you’re taking steps to lose weight, well you can go to fat club. And then there are all those fatty foods we’re told to avoid like the plague, else we’ll become obese or our arteries will clog up.
But in actual fact, fat isn’t quite the enemy it’s made out to be. And whilst I’m not telling you to get on out there and scoff twenty battered Mars Bars (ummmm ‘cos why would you want to anyway!?!), I do think it’s about time we gave fat a lot more value in our diets.
According to NHS guidelines, men should be consuming no more than 30g of saturated fat a day and for women this amount reduces to more than 20g. So as you can see, we don’t need much, but we do need some and it’s all about consuming the right kinds of fat.
Bad fats are usually found in those foods that also contain high levels of sugar, or salt and are often also the most highly calorific. It’s in the junk food, the takeaways, the processed ready made foods, the easy option and once we get a taste for it, we want more. But it is this type of fat that makes us feel slovenly, it makes us put on weight, it traps us in a cycle of guilt and builds a negative relationship with food.
However, a certain amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet and for many, particularly those following the popular Keto diet, it is a source of energy. All fats are high in energy with 1g of fat providing 9kcal (37kJ) of energy compared with 4kcal for the equivalent quantity of carbohydrate or protein. This means that if you were to reduce your carb intake, the body would use fat stores as it’s energy supply instead. And therefore, consuming the right amount and the right type of fat, can actually help you lose weight rather than put it on.
What Fat Is ‘Good’ Fat?
Ideally we should be looking at including more of the unsaturated fats in our diet and cutting down on the saturated and trans fats.
Unsaturated fats, or the ‘good’ fats, include:
- Oily Fish; such as mackerel, salmon and sardines.
- Vegetable Oils; such as olive oil, rapeseed oil and sunflower oil.
- Nuts; such as almonds, brazil nuts and walnuts.
- Avocados; all hail the mighty avocado!
Ultimately it’s all about that balance folks! It’s about eating the right proportion of fats to protein, to fruit and veg, to carbs and in all honesty having a little bit of what you fancy every now and again really isn’t going to do you much harm.
If you’d like to find out more about the Keto diet, here’s what you need to know.