Do you fear fat?

For every scientific paper that says eating fat causes high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, stroke and obesity, there are as many that say they are not the cause.

Here is an interesting fact though, fat intake in Britain has fallen by 50% in the past 10 years but obesity and diabetes are rising. Our belief that fat and saturated fats in particular, are unhealthy and make us obese, are deeply entrenched and we really need to get people thinking differently about their health as clearly that school of thought is not working.

Macadamias nuts are the most nutritious nuts to eat but they do have a lot of calories so people tend to stay away from them. Oily fish such as mackerel is high in saturated fat but it is micro nutrient dense so you get a lot of nutrients per calorie.

All natural fats have functions for health, they are not inherently bad, for example, they are needed to carry many vitamins that can not be absorbed any other way. Eating the right types of fats is absolutely vital for optimal health. Essential fats reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, allergies, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, eczema, depression, fatigue, ADHD and the list goes on. They are essential for the healthy cell membranes, brain and nerve cells and hormones.

Fat is not our problem, but rather the type of fat we consume. It’s the processed fats that you want to stay away from. Man-made trans fats in margarines and processed foods such as cakes, biscuits and pastries are made from artificially hardened, partially hydrogenated fats. They have been banned in Denmark, Switzerland, Austria and parts of the USA like California and New York. Shockingly, trans fat labelling is not compulsory in the UK.

I’d rather have butter over margarine any day and here is a great video that explains what margarine is.

So we’ve reduced our fat intake but unfortunately we have increased our refined carbohydrate intake. One Australian study found that a high fat, low carb diet was no more likely to cause heart disease than a high carb, low fat one. But the high fat, low card diet was a more effective way of losing weight and less likely to cause diabetes.

The largest ever controlled study of diet, conducted at the University of Copenhagen in 2010, concluded that “current dietary recommendations are not good enough to prevent overweight persons from gaining weight. You should cut down on finely refined starch calories such as white bread and white rice”.

So forget the calorie counting! Eating a diet of real food as opposed to processed, refined food is the best way to healthy weight and nutrition.

This is not however cart blanch to load up your plate with chips everyday and smother everything in butter. It is about moderation and eating food in its natural form.

Go ahead and have:

Omelettes, butter, peanut butter, avocados, olive oil dressing, Greek yogurt, cashew nuts.

Do away with:

Muller lights, special K, Snack a Jacks, margarine, processed low fat meat.

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