Do You Have a Full-Fat Phobia?

For decades fat has been unfairly demonised. We have been told to avoid foods high in fat, both for our health and our weight. Bad advice.

Most whole, unprocessed foods with natural fats are incredibly good for you.

Because of the “war on fat,” people have unnecessarily avoided some of the world’s healthiest and most nutritious foods.

A Quick Guide to Healthy Fats

There are really just 4 types of fat:

Trans Fats

These are the bad low quality fats, they raise cholesterol. They are produced artificially in a process known as hydrogenation. Hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil to turn it into a solid fat. This increases shelf life and adds the yum-factor to pastries, biscuits, fries etc. Avoid foods with hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in their ingredients, as often as you can.

Saturated Fats

These are found in butter, cheese, biscuits and pastries etc and should be limited as they also raise cholesterol levels. The only exception to this general rule is coconut fat. Although it is a saturated fat, coconut fat can improve cholesterol levels and promote a healthy heart.

coconut fat lowers cholesterol and reduces risk of heart disease

coconut fat lowers cholesterol and reduces risk of heart disease

Monounsaturated Fats

These are good fats found in avocado, olive oil, rapeseed oil and nuts. They reduce cholesterol levels and promote a healthy heart. They are high in calories though, and so you need to keep an eye on portion size.

salmon rich in Omega-3 EFA

salmon rich in Omega-3 EFA

Polyunsaturated Fats

These include all the EFAs (essential fatty acids), Omega-3 and Omega-6 which the body is unable to manufacture. They have to be derived from food and supplements. Omega-3 is found in linseed, hemp, oily fish. Omega-6 is found in sunflower, safflower, walnuts and sesame seeds.

These polyunsaturated fats promote a healthy heart, support the immune system, normalise cholesterol levels, balance blood sugars and keep your body energised.

Fish oil rich in Omega-3

Fish oil rich in Omega-3

So the next time you reach for the ‘healthy’ option, you’ll have a clearer idea about what the healthy option might be. And if in doubt, the longer the list of ingredients on a product, the more likely it is to be short on healthy fats.