Fat is a word filled with such emotion. It conjures up images of greasy food or bulging weight. Do you calorie count your foods and buy fat-free, low-fat and lite foods ? Many of these foods may be lower in fat but higher in sugar. These mass-produced products had the fat taken out and sugar, sweeteners and additives put in.
Low-fat yogurts, margarines, spreads, low-fat ready meals, breakfast cereals, cereal bars and juices are all technically low in calories, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make you overweight. We know that excess sugar gets converted to fat in the body, usually around your middle area. If we eat a lot of these types of foods, the mid-section weight gain is always hard to shift if unknowingly eating too much sugar.
Research shows that eating too much sugar is behind the huge surge of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes, so not only are these low-fat foods making us fat, they are making us sick too !
Which fats should we stay away from ?
The chemically derived fats are the ones that should be feared. They come from mainly vegetables oils, such as canola, soya, sunflower, safflower and corn. These oils go through an industrial solvent extraction process, which requires a number of heating treatment and chemical processes (petroleum to mention one) before they are bottled and sold. Unlike butter, coconut butter and olive oils, which do not undergo these processes, vegetable oils, if being used for something like margarine, have to go through a further process called hydrogenation, which makes them solid when cooled. Avoid all products which contain hydrogenated fats like biscuits and other processed packaged foods. Read the labels.
Which fats you should eat and why ?
Eggs, oily fish such as mackerel and sardines, nuts and seeds, oils and avocado’s contain essential fatty acids which serve multiple important health functions in the body and can only be obtained from food. Every cell in the body has an outer layer that’s made up of fat, so we need to consume good fats to keep these cells strong and healthy, which in turn keeps us strong and healthy.
I hope you’ve realized so far that it is not necessary to demonize fats; but let’s keep this in perspective. It isn’t a green flag to eat all the cheese, red meat, sausages and butter that you want.
I’m suggesting that you ditch the margarine and bread and use a little butter on some delicious, steamed veggies. Enjoy meat occasionally about once or twice a week and if you can make it organic or free-range. Don’t buy processed red meats like ham, salami, sausages, mince and bacon which are health harming. Enjoy small amounts of good quality goat’s cheeses and eat them alongside vegetables and herbs.
These are the fats that I encourage you to include in your diet:
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Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !