It’s time to shatter the illusion that fats make you fat. Granted, some types of fat will have a negative impact on your body, however our body craves good types of fats!
Have you seen products in the supermarket that boast that they’re ‘low fat’ or ‘no fat’? Well, despite our beliefs that this will benefit us, it can often do the opposite.
Fats in both foods and in the body are simply storage units composed of fatty acids. A fat is distinguished by the specific combination of fatty acids making it up. Fatty acids have three basic purposes in you body1:
- Providing energy
- Providing the building blocks for cell membranes
- Acting as raw materials that can be converted to other substances that perform special duties in your body such as hormones.
Let’s break down the different types of fats (the good and the bad!):
- Saturated Fats
Saturated Fats are found in animal products such as butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, cream and fatty meats. Additionally you can find saturated fats in vegetable oils such as coconut oil! Often, we hear the words ‘saturated fats’ and instantly associate them with being bad for us. In fact, healthy saturated fats that are high quality and minimally processed are essential to your health. These good quality fats not only keep you feeling fuller for longer, but they also work as carriers for important vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K!
- Trans Fats
Trans Fats are the ones to avoid! Trans fats are formed when vegetable oils are hardened, a process called hydrogenation. These types of fats can raise bad cholesterol levels, clog arteries and lead to serious health issues. These fats are usually found in foods such as:
- French fries
- Processed meats
- Some cereals
Not only are trans fats causing health concerns, but some products aren’t required to list the amount of trans fats within them. When you’re wandering through the supermarket checking out products, look for shortening, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredients list. The higher up on the list these ingredients appear, the more trans fat.
- Monounsaturated Fats
These are fabulous fats! These types of fats, such as olive oil, are liquid at room temperature and turn solid when they are chilled. Including healthy amounts of these types of fats helps reduce cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease and reduce belly fat.
- Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fats can improve your cell’s response to insulin, neurotransmitters and other messengers as well as helping the repair process when your cells are damages. Foods that contain fabulous omega-3’s include:
- Leafy green vegetables
Here’s your go-to fat guide – what to use and what to lose!