Fats are an essential part of our diet and is important for good health. There are different types of fats,
with some fats being healthier than others. To help make sure you stay healthy, it is important to eat
unsaturated fats in small amounts as part of a balanced diet.
When eaten in large amounts, all fats, including healthy fats, can contribute to weight gain. Fat is higher
in energy than any other nutrient and so eating less fat overall is likely to help with weight loss.
Eating less saturated and trans fats may help lower your risk of heart disease. When buying
products check the labels and choose the varieties that are lower in saturated and trans fats and higher
in poly and monounsaturated fats. So a diet that is low in saturated fats and trans fats, but that also
includes moderate amounts of unsaturated fats will help you stay healthy.
Why we need fat in our diets
“Fats are a primary energy source, and we must consume essential fatty acids to support the basic
functions of our body,”. Regularly consuming healthy fats is linked with day-to-day health benefits,
including balancing hormones and fighting inflammation.
“Fats insulate our organs and serve as structural components of our cells,”. “It also supports immune
function, helps to regulate our body temperature, maintains healthy skin, hair and nails, and helps us
absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K. Other fats serve as a building block for
creating hormones.” Consuming healthy fats is also correlated with long-term health benefits, such as
decreased risk of heart disease.
Fat consumption is also crucial for blood sugar balance. In other words, fat can help you avoid getting
“hangry.” Fat is crucial for helping our brains function optimally. “Our brains alone are comprised of 60
percent fat, and we typically start our lives relying on fat in the form of breast milk for energy and
development,” “Because of this, becoming a fat-burner rather than a sugar-burner ― the main principle
of a ketogenic diet ― has been shown to enhance brain health.”
How much fat do I need each day?
Everyone is different but getting around 30% of your calories from fats is a good place for most people.
Fat should be eaten with every meal. As noted, it provides that feeling of fullness, transports your
vitamins and lowers the glycemic impact of the meal ― this means it reduces the impact on blood sugar.
Good Fat verses Bad fat
All types of fat are high in energy. A gram of fat, whether it’s saturated or unsaturated, provides 9kcal of
energy compared with 4kcal for carbohydrate and protein.
The main types of fat found in food are:
Most fats and oils contain both saturated and unsaturated fats in different proportions.
As part of a healthy diet, you should try to cut down on foods and drinks that are high in saturated fats
and trans fats and replace some of them with unsaturated fats.
Saturated fats are found in many foods, both sweet and savoury.
Most of them come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products, as well as some plant
foods, such as palm oil and coconut oil.
Cholesterol and saturated fats
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that’s mostly made by the body in the liver.
It’s carried in the blood as:
low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
high-density lipoprotein (HDL)
Eating too much saturated fats in your diet can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood, which can
increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
“Good” HDL cholesterol has a positive effect by taking cholesterol from parts of the body where there’s
too much of it to the liver, where it’s disposed of.
Trans fats are found naturally at low levels in some foods, such as meat and dairy products.
They can also be found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Hydrogenated vegetable oil must be
declared on a food’s ingredients list if it’s been included. Like saturated fats, trans fats can raise cholesterol levels in the blood.
If you want to reduce your risk of heart disease, it’s best to reduce your overall fat intake and swap
saturated fats for unsaturated fats.
There’s good evidence that replacing saturated fats with some unsaturated fats can help to lower your
Mostly found in oils from plants and fish, unsaturated fats can be either monounsaturated or
Monounsaturated fats help protect your heart by maintaining levels of “good” HDL cholesterol while
reducing levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood.
Monounsaturated fats are found in:
olive oil, rapeseed oil and spreads made from these oils
some nuts, such as almonds, brazils, and peanuts
Polyunsaturated fats can also help lower the level of “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood.
There are 2 main types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 and omega-6. Some types of omega-3 and omega-6 fats cannot be made by your body, which means it’s essential to include small amounts of them in your diet.
Most people get enough omega-6 in their diet, but it’s recommended to have more omega-3 by eating
at least 2 portions of fish each week, with 1 portion being an oily fish. Vegetable sources of omega-3 fats
are not thought to have the same benefits on heart health as those found in fish. Find out more
about healthy eating as a vegetarian. Fso, fat is a type of nutrient, and just like protein and
carbohydrates, your body needs some fat for energy, to absorb vitamins, and to protect your heart and
Limiting your intake of saturated fat can still help improve your health—as long as you take care to
replace it with good fat rather than refined carbs. In other words, don’t go no fat, go good fat.