Fat is one of the things that makes our food tasty, and to cook without it seems somehow as if you are trying to defy nature! There is lots of scientific evidence to show that we need fat in our diets, but the important factor is the type of fat
We have never been more obsessed with dieting, eating low fat foods and even trying to cut fat out of our diets completely. This is not a healthy way to eat. The first thing to learn about fat that you eat, is that it does not cause you to be fat (unless eating the wrong kind in huge amounts of course), but rather, eating too much sugar and not burning it off, causing it to turn to fat in the body, is the main culprit in today’s society.
We need fat in our diet for –
- Body and organ insulation
- To keep toxins out of circulation
- Steroid hormone production
- To provide and circulate fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K)
- For cell membrane structure, keeping cells supple
- To help fight against inflammation
Research has shown that low fat diets can lead to; cravings, binge eating, risk of fat-soluble vitamin deficiency, depression, problems with blood sugar regulation and skin problems.
So how do we know which fats to eat? Firstly, let’s look at the fats that are in the foods we eat.
These are principally found in animal fats in meat and dairy, and are solid at room temperature (lard, bacon, suet, dripping, intensively farmed milk, cheese, cream). But they are also in coconut oil, palm oil and macadamia nuts.
(Mainly omega 9 and omega 7) are found in olive oil, rapeseed oil, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, goose fat, duck fat, avocado.
(includes essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6) liquid at room temperature and found in nuts, seeds and their oils – sunflower, sesame, rapeseed, soy, corn.
Essential Fatty Acids
Omega 3 and Omega 6 – found in linseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds and oily fish.
These are fats that are created when liquid or polyunsaturated fatty acids are made solid at room temperature by the addition of hydrogen. These can be found naturally in some dairy and meats, but also in margarines, cakes and biscuits, although more recently food producers are being asked to reduce these.
So, how much fat should we eat, and of what type? As with all parts of the diet, we should aim for variety in our foods, and that also includes the fats in our diet – too much of omega 6 may effect the benefits of omega 3 for example.
When deciding how much fat to consume, remember there are many types of fats and some of these are vital. The World Health Organisation recommends we need a minimum of 32 g fat daily, with a maximum of 20 g of this being saturated fat (this is based on a diet of 2000 calories a day).
It is important to remember that fat does not necessarily make us fat – essential fatty acids are called essential for a very good reason!