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The Big ‘Fat’ Truth

Nutrition has and always will be one of the most controversial topics around, with leading highly qualified experts arguing for and against every single possible recommendation. With this in mind it is no surprise that people find it impossible to know what they should and should not eat.

It is finally coming to light that the once ‘unhealthy’ of the food world is actually good for you. Yes, the government is starting to catch up (at the slowest pace possible) that fat is actually good for us. In the health & fitness industry we have been advising this to everyone looking to improve their health (despite the government’s outdated recommendations) as we have seen first-hand that it works. 

The thing to remember is there are essential fatty acids and essential amino acids that we must obtain from the food we eat, as our body cannot synthesise them itself. There are no essential carbohydrates. Yet the recommended daily intake has always been highest towards carbohydrates.

We have always advised that people should avoid “low fat”, “0% fat” and “no fat” products, as the clever manufacturers have used this as a way of marketing foods, making them sound incredible for you with these slogans. Instead what a lot of them have done is removed the good tasting and healthy fats and replaced them with a sugar alternative so it still tastes nice.

So with this information coming out of course it is facing resistance and being slated as irresponsible (I can only guess by the people who are being proven wrong), so it looks like it will still be a while until official new guidelines are updated. 

What I believe is irresponsible are:

  • The pathetic advertising laws we have in place where every other advert is for a chocolate bar, fizzy drink or takeaways and half of these are aimed at children!
  • The lack of convenient, healthy, quick and easy options.
  • The little encouragement for people to exercise.
  • The system where a healthy diet and exercise will cure many illnesses but instead prescription drugs with nasty side effects are given as it is easier and arguably makes big companies more money.
  • The recommendation of only 5 portions of fruit and veg a day when it should be closer to 10.
  • The lack of education given to parents, children and the general population on general healthy eating.

The problem I can see coming from this “new” information is people are not being informed exactly what is meant by “fats are good”, and I can therefore see people misunderstanding and thinking, “So deep fried is good, right?” and “Great – I can put cheese on everything!”

Here is some information about different fats that everyone should know:

Trans fat (hydrogenated fat)

This is an UNHEALTHY source of fat. It is of course a man-made creation turning a healthy fat into a bad one (another fail for mankind).

These are commonly found in:

  • baked goods
  • pastries
  • margarine 
  • ready meals
  • takeaways

Unsaturated fat

This is generally liquid at room temperature. This includes omega essential fatty acids. It is best not to cook with this type of fat as doing so can cause damage to the body. This is generally the kind of fat the restaurants and fast-food chains use for cooking and deep-frying.

Examples include:

  • avocado
  • vegetable oils
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • oily fish

Saturated fats

These are predominantly found in animal products and are generally solid at room temperature. It is important to choose high quality animal products for a good source, as what they are fed is ultimately what you end up eating. Saturated fat is great for cooking with.

Examples include:

  • coconut oil
  • butter
  • cheese
  • beef
  • processed meats
  • suet 

I think it is a fair statement to make that the current recommendations are NOT working, since the general population has been getting increasingly more obese and illnesses are on the rise annually. 

Fat in comparison to carbohydrates and protein does contain more Kcal per gram, so although fat is healthy it still should not be consumed in excess as a surplus in ‘calories in’ vs. ‘energy burned’ throughout the day will result in unwanted weight gain.

Having balanced meals containing natural unprocessed foods throughout the day and keeping active will lead to a healthy, happy lifestyle. 

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