eating simply, simply eating: why we need fats
Fats are probably one of the most controversial topics in nutrition and one of the most confusing for consumers, with endless arguments continuously evolving over fat and low-fat nutritional guidelines. A topic I have reviewed in, What should we eat, and in, BIG FAT FARCE?, our Registered Dietician, Cara Rosenbloom also wrote a concise and easy to understand examination of the subject in, Is coconut oil good or bad for you?
Yet, amongst all the controversy, one critical point is accepted by all: fat is essential for our survival.
We need fat for:
- normal growth and development
- absorption of certain vitamins (A, D, E, K and carotenoids)
- maintaining cell membrane
- providing a cushion for our organs
- our skin and hair
In addition, the fats food provides gives our body essential fatty acids – linolenic and linoleic acid. These two essential fatty acids cannot be made by the body and so must be obtained through plant-based foods, where they are then used to build specialised fats omega-3 and omega-6.
Further, the metabolism and digestion of protein can only be achieved in the presence of fat. The real issue is sorting out the good fats from the bad and eating accordingly.
The three types of fat
- Unsaturated fats – found in, amongst others, olive oil, avocados and nuts. Unsaturated fats should comprise most of your daily fat intake. They come in two main forms – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6) are important in the normal function of tissues in the body. They also aid in the protection against heart disease and could decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. Monounsaturated fats can aid in improving blood cholesterol and may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which could also aid with type 2 diabetes.
- Saturated fat – found in meat, dairy products, lard and butter. Research on saturated fats and its risk of heart disease and to health is still being contested. When it comes to consumption a sensible approach should always be implemented.
- Trans-fats – found in processed foods, fried foods, baked foods and margarine. In research that examined saturated fats, it appeared that trans-fat consumption was associated with 34% increase in all-cause mortality. Trans-fats have also been linked with the risk of heart disease. Not surprisingly Just Routine believes they are best avoided.
Just Routine is our real food app. Designed to be inclusive, to avoid cutting out macro or micro nutrients from our eating regimes, six key food groups lie at its core: Protein, Carbohydrates, Legumes, Vegetables, Fruits, Fats. It’s about eating simply, simply eating.
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