Fats, Facts & The British Diet
–> First: ignore the horror stories, you need fat in your diet!!!
However, it is not as simple as that…We require specific types of fats and in lower amounts than most of us consume…below are some useful facts:
– Fat = 9kcal/Gram whereas Carbs & Protein = 4kcal/g, Fat is energy dense!!
– Saturated & Trans Fats have no health benefits & contribute to high levels of bad cholesterol
– Excessive fat intake is linked to: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, strokes & cancers
– UK average = 12.7% of our energy comes from saturated fat which is 1.7% higher than recommended & 35% of our total energy consumed is from Fats
– UK average is close to its recommendation for Omega 6 but far from it’s Omega 3 needs
Why We Need (some) Fats
Fats provide us with essential fatty acids which the body cannot produce itself. These are needed to support a variety of functions:
– absorb fat soluble vitamins: A, D & E
– support healthy cholesterol balance
– sources of Omega 3&6 needed to support: brain function, blood pressure regulation & many more
– a source of energy
Types of Fat
It is important to distinguish between the types of fat as there is a considerable difference in requirements and the effect on our health.
Commonly referred to as good fats, unsaturated fats provide us with all of the essential fatty acids required to perform vital bodily functions. These can be further broken down into 2 categories:
- found in: Olives, Olive Oil & Spreads, Avocados, Almonds, Peanuts & Brazil Nuts
- Helps to maintain HDL (good cholesterol) & reduce LDL (bad Cholseterol) by taking it to the liver to be disposed of
- 2 types: omega 3 & omega 6
- Omega 3 Sources: oily fish
- Omega 6 Sources: rapeseed, corn, sunflower, some nuts
- Lowers both good (HDL) & bad (LDL) cholesterol
Commonly referred to as ‘Bad Fats’, they offer no health benefits and can contribute to high cholesterol and a range of health risks.
Sources of Unsaturated Fat:
– Cake, Pastry, Biscuits & Chocolate
– Processed Meat eg. burgers & sausages
– Butter, Cheese, Ghee, Suet, Palm Oil & Lard
– Fatty Meats
These are also considered as bad, like Saturated Fat they increase Bad Cholesterol in the body, provide high amounts of calories but no health benefits.
– Found naturally in low levels in some foods
– Also formed from processing vegetable oils from liquids to solids, known as hydrogenation. These are commonly used in processed foods: cakes, biscuits, pastries & Margarine
Tips To Take Away:
– Reduce Saturated & Trans Fat intake, aim for majority of your fats to be unsaturated
– Consume 2-3 portions of Oily Fish/Week (omega 3)
– Grill Meet allowing fat to drain away
– Cook in Rapeseed Oil (minimum amount)
– Engage in regular pulse raising exercise
– Read the labels before you buy
McArdle, W., Katch, F., & Katch, V. (2010) Exercise Physiology, 7th Edition: Nutrition, Energy & Human Performance. Lipincott, Williams & Wilkins. Baltimore