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Healthy Fats

Nutrition is funny, sometimes.

How many times have we witnessed statements, that carry no credibility, leak into the media and then escalate into something that hypnotizes the nation with a certain belief?

Things get blown out of proportion and all of a sudden it snowballs into this ‘thing’. In this circumstance I’m referring to the statement “fats make you fat”.

I think this mainly derives from Gen X and has been passed down onto children and grandchildren, however, in this day and age there’s a lot more education, resource and studies that show that in fact fats DO NOT make you fat.

Becoming fat comes down to energy consumption at a total level. If we’re consuming more calories than our body expends, we’re going to gain fat – simple. This could be from consuming too much of any of the 3 macronutrients (proteins, carbs and fats). In which case, to believe 1 macronutrient, in isolation, can trigger such an effect is a bit naïve and is probably due to the fact that fat is the most calorific of the 3 macronutrients, thus tends to take the most rap.

Dietary fat provides HUGE benefit to us as humans, obviously! Otherwise they wouldn’t be one of our 3 macronutrients. Think about it – we need a certain amount of proteins, carbs and fats to function optimally. Fat is involved in many key functions relating to immune function, the production of hormones and cell structure. It is also essential for optimal performance as an important fuel source and for the recovery of hormones.

Let’s dial into fats a little more. So firstly, fats can be categorised into saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature as they don’t have any double bonds within their fatty acid chain, each chain of carbon atoms is ‘saturated’ with hydrogen atoms, examples include red meat, milk and cheese.
Unsaturated fats can then be broken down into two different types, monounsaturated which have a single double bond between carbons in a fatty acid chain, found in avocados, most nuts and olive oil, and polyunsaturated which have two double bonds between carbons in a fatty acid chain, found in oily fish, flaxseeds and walnuts.

Although we should be aiming to consume greater amounts of unsaturated fats to increase HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol), the saturated fats do in fact play a key role, such as helping our bones take up calcium to provide better bone density and to protect the liver, so they shouldn’t be avoided absolutely.

The government recommends we shouldn’t consume any more than 30g saturated fat (daily) for men and no more than 20g saturated fat (daily) for females, however, very low fat diets (less than 15% of total calories) should probably be avoided on a chronic basis due to its many health benefits.

The key take home message is a balance of both from a variety of sources is optimal, with a disproportional focus to unsaturated fats. Additionally, if your goal is fat loss it is important to monitor your fat consumption from a total energy level too. As mentioned previously, fats do not make you fat. An over consumption on calories creating a surplus will make you gain fat.

So, if you’ve been shying away from fats, don’t!

Try this high protein, super-indulgent smoothie containing our Smart Nut Butter!

Add the below ingredients & blend:

Josh is an Online Fitness Trainer & qualified Sports & Exercise Therapist Bsc (Hons)