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Is fat really as bad as we’re lead to believe? – Good fats vs Bad fats

When it comes down to our general health and well-being, two vital factors that both play key roles in determining our overall health, fitness, and general well-being are exercise and diet. When it comes down to our diets, it’s probably safe to say that speaking generally, many of us are unfortunately simply not eating the foods we should be eating. Ask anybody to name you two examples of healthy food sources and 9 times out of 10 they’ll talk about fresh fruits and vegetables. Whilst it’s true that those are indeed very healthy and beneficial for us, they are by far not the only foods we should be consuming. Believe it or not, but there are actually numerous foods high in fat that have been found to not only help promote weight loss, but that have also been found to be incredibly healthy and beneficial for us, even helping us to prolong our lives in some cases. No, we haven’t gone mad, we’re simply referring to good fats as opposed to bad fats, and yes there is a big difference between the two, which we’ll be covering right now. 

Why do fats get such a bad press?For years upon years we were lead to believe that all fats were the devil incarnate, and that they should all be avoided like the plague if we wanted to lose weight, avoid gaining weight, and avoid suffering a heart attack or stroke. As time went by however, experts began finding that some sources of fat were not only okay for us, they were actually incredibly good for us, which we’ll be looking at shortly. The reason why fat gets such bad press however, is that when we think of fat, we think of greasy burgers, pizzas, deep fried produce, processed baked goods, candy bars, cakes, and pretty much every other unhealthy processed junk food you can think of. These foods are indeed full of calories and provide much of their energy in the form of fats, but the difference is that the fats contained within them are known as bad fats. 

Bad fatsBad fats include saturated fats and trans fats, and have been proven to contribute towards diabetes, weight gain, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, blocked arteries, heart attacks, blood clots, strokes, and much more besides. These fats are found in saturated animal produce including lard, butter, cheese, cream, whole fat milk, and fatty cuts of meat such as bacon or lamb. There are also planet-based forms of fats which have been hydrogenated and combined with trans fats which are also extremely bad for us. These fats contain harmful LDL cholesterol which forms a fatty build up inside the arteries and slows blood flow and eventually calcifies and turns the plaque, where it can then cause strokes and heart attacks. Bad fats are found in numerous forms of food, including: 

  • Cheese

  • Cream

  • Animal fats

  • Fatty cuts of meat

  • Hydrogenated vegetable oils

  • Processed baked goods

  • Deep fried produce

  • Milk chocolate

  • Confectionary

  • Shallow fried produce 

Good fatsGood fats are mono and poly-unsaturated fats and have been found to lower harmful LDL cholesterol and raise healthy HDL cholesterol levels which help to lower and regulate bad cholesterol levels. One example of healthy fats is Omega 3 fatty acids, commonly found in oily fish such as salmon or mackerel. These healthy sources of fatty acids are hugely beneficial for the brain, the body, and the heart. There are also numerous other forms of good fats, with some of the most common examples being: 

  • Nuts

  • Seeds

  • Oily fish

  • Coconut oil

  • Virgin olive oil

  • Nut butters

  • Grass fed red meat (in moderation)

  • Avocados

  • Organic eggs

 

How to balance fat intake and how much is required – So, now that we know that some fats are not only ok, but that they’re actually pretty essential for us, how do we know how much to consume and balance our fat intake? Well, a general rule of thumb is to consume 0.4 grams of healthy fats multiplied by your bodyweight in pounds each day. So, if you weigh 200lbs, you would require 80 grams of healthy fats each day as 0.4 x 200 = 80. Get your fats from healthy sources and make sure you emphasize omega 3 fatty acids. You can of course allow yourself the occasional treat now and then, as a little of what you like does you good. Just make sure it is occasional, and make sure the next day you get right back on track.   

 

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