Does eating fat make you fat? I have so many clients who come to me afraid of consuming fat, any types of fat! This is understandable as we have been told it for so many years. Sadly for most of the population cutting out or reducing our fat intake didn’t make us thinner it just caused many other health issues.
First thing to note is there are different types of fat, so it would be a commonly made mistake to generalise and say ‘avoid fat’ or ‘consume fat’, without identifying and understanding which type of fats are ok to eat, and what types are not.
There are three main categories of good fats; monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated (often listed as bad). All of these can be obtained from eating whole foods and we need them all. The most concerning bad fats are the trans fats. These are found in processed foods, deep fried foods, margarine, processed cakes, biscuits, muesli bars, foods with long shelf lives etc. Trans fats are created when some polyunsaturated fats are damaged due to heat.
The ratio of the fats we consume is also important. Omega 3s and omega 6s come under the polyunsaturated fat category. Our ratio of 3:6 should be around 1:2 or 1:3, now days our ratio is an average of 1:20, some people can even get up to 1:50! This can come from the over consumption of omega 6 fats compared to omega 3. Omega 6s are essential, but if we consume too many, and the wrong types (processed), it can turn very inflammatory and cause many health problems. You must focus on eating less omega 6 rich foods, which will naturally happen when you eat less processed foods and more whole foods.
Omega 3 rich foods include; oily fish (wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines), flaxseeds, chai seeds.
Fats from real, whole foods are essential for our health. It is needed to help reduce inflammation, keep a healthy immune system, to have gorgeous skin, eyes, hair and nails and you need it to help you to burn fat for energy! We need fats (in particular cholesterol) to make our sex hormones, they will help you feel happy and content, fuller for longer and it can even reduce your cravings for sweet foods.
You also need fats to help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), these are needed for maintaining the health of your organs, as well as many other key roles in the body.
As you can see, the fat free fad took away an essential food and fuel. What is even worse is that most of the fat free foods replaced the fat with refined sugars. Even worse, is that to counteract the increased sweetness of the food, a huge amount of poor quality salt was added!
This fad took us away from our health and we gained nothing but health problems in return. The way to avoid getting caught up in food and nutrition fads is to remember that, when it comes to food, nature gets it right and its human prevention that can steer it in the wrong direction!