Face Fats With A Nutritionist
In order not to get fat, people seem to think that they need to avoid fat in their diet. A logical conclusion perhaps? Not according to this nutritionist...
Most of us know - as popularised by the media – that omega fats are good for us and ‘trans’ fats are bad. But what about the confusion over saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats? It is a slippery slope of confusion out there, but alas The Food Fairy Nutritionists are here to shed some light on the big fat lies out there...
First things first: fats are solid and oils are liquid and are both members of the ‘fat family.’ You may also spot the word lipid when dissecting the ingredient list on your food items. This too means fat.
Your body needs fats! They are an important source of energy. The number of fat cells we have is determined in childhood. As we age they only grow in size but not number. This is why it is so important to control children’s eating habits early, to prevent making them prone to obesity in adulthood.
When we lose weight (fat storage) we do not lose fat cells, rather we empty them.
Fat cells are used as dumping sites by the liver. Rapid fat loss causes toxic shock to the system due to all the toxins in the fat cells being released at once.
Fat that you see on your outer body – your hips, thighs and bottom is not only used for insulation but also to give the figure shape and to store energy reserves. The ‘invisible fat’ inside your body - located around your organs - is an essential component of every single cell in your body, in fact it is the crucial element that holds them all together. It also helps the nerves to function – enabling you to think and speak.
‘Trans’ fats are artificially produced compounds that were born in a science lab. And they are about as healthy as they sound! They came into existence when scientists were handed the task of making oils solid and spreadable – for margarine purposes. In order to solidify natural oils like olive oil, science was relied upon to provide a solution. The result was chemically altered fat structures labelled ‘trans fats’. Because these fats do not occur naturally in nature, they are unrecognisable to the body and due to the fact that they cannot be utilised like normal fats, the body works to pad them out and store them in the outer regions of our thighs often contributing to the oh-so-undesirable ‘orange peel effect’ aka cellulite. Is this enough to convince you to avoid these artificial nuisances at all cost?!
Saturated fats originate mainly from animal sources such as beef, cheese and butter. They have rather a tainted reputation since media alarmists became unjustifiably obsessed with cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are natural foods and are NOT all bad – in fact we need them in the body for a reliable source of fuel and also a rather densely packed punch of nutrients.
Monounsaturated fats are those found in olive oil and avocados. These fats nourish our skin, hair and nails and as good for our body as they are for our beauty!
Polyunsaturated fats include the famous omega 3 and other healthy plant oils such as hemp, flax and sesame. These essential fats are widely deficient in the typical western diet. They are responsible for supporting the body’s anti-inflammatory pathways and keeping arteries clean and clear, amongst many other things...
25% of our daily calorie intake should consist of fats. That means around 95g for men and 70g for women. But remember these are just guidelines and every one of us is slightly different due to our unique biochemical needs.
When checking your food label always look for which types of fat are contained in the food. For example, sardines will contain close to 20g of fat, but these are polyunsaturated fats, i.e. the really good kind! And beware of foods that are low in fat and high in sugar – sugar turns to fat in the body so don’t be smug!
Often oils in foods are refined oils and have lost much of their nutritional content. Always go for cold pressed, unrefined oils with all their vitamins and minerals intact, unprocessed and pure. Fats can go rancid very quickly, so store nuts, seeds and oils in the fridge so that they do not release damaging free radicals in your body.
When it comes to cooking, coconut oil is your ultimate option. As well as providing a whole realm of health promoting properties, it is heat resistant and retains its goodness when the heat is on. Beware of cooking with polyunsaturated oils like nut and seed oils – because they are unstable fats and quickly lose their nutritional power when heated. In fact, their delicate bonds are broken and begin to release free radicals in distress. These oils are best consumed when poured over salads, cooked soups or vegetables just before serving. Pumpkin seed oil drizzled over ice cream is a particular favourite of the Fairies!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Henderson is a qualified nutritional therapist and founder and director of Food Fairy Nutrition Ltd. If you’re interested in benefiting from a unique and individually tailored online nutritional consultation service, or you’d simply like more information, please go ahead and click one of the links above!