Does healthy fat exist?

What is “fat”?

Fat is an organic matter and a concentrated source of calories. It has twice as much energy as carbohydrates and proteins. Fat increases the taste of a food, makes it more nutritious, but unlike fiber, it does not make you feel full. Therefore, people fill up faster when they eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and after a fatty meal, hunger subsides only for a short time. As a result, you eat more calories for the least benefit.

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Fats are classified into two types: saturated and unsaturated.

They are different in chemical structure and effect on the body. Saturated ones found in animal products and baked goods can be harmful: they raise cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease. On the other hand,unsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol levels; they are found in large quantities in plant foods and oils. These fats are listed on the packaging as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. They are also known as trans fats, the result of processing unsaturated fats, which also raise bad cholesterol levels and are considered the most harmful.

“Good” fats

Despite the fact that the presence of fat in food causes concern, there is a special class of "good" fats, collectively known as unsaturated. “Good” fats are included in foods such as linseed and sesame oils, tuna, salmon, trout, fish oil, flax seeds, and Chia seeds.
The reason these fats are so beneficial is because they contain special compounds known as omega-3 fatty acids. They are beneficial to our health and are recommended by various health associations.

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Why do we need fats?

Should you eliminate all types of fat if you want to lose weight? Doctors are against strict restrictions even if you are overweight. In addition to the effect on the heart and blood vessels, healthy fats in moderation help to avoid vitamin deficiency, support the work of the nervous and endocrine systems, and improve blood circulation. Fats are included in the diet for people who are suffering with problems of  sore joints, while the only type of saturated fat, coconut oil, is not prohibited. In addition, without fatty acids in the diet, it is difficult to maintain the beauty and elasticity of the skin that needs omega-3s for hydration.

There are no universal recommendations for the amount of fat in the diet, it must be calculated individually, depending on the lifestyle, activity and existing diseases, as well as the calorie content of the diet. You can overdo it with any, even the most useful product or component, so do not forget about the sense of proportion. Experts at the World Health Organization believe that 30% is the maximum amount of fat from the total food intake. At the same time, saturated fats should be no more than 10% of this indicator, and trans fats should be less than 1%.

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Fatty acids can be found in different products, but there are recognized champions in its content:

- Saturated fats: dairy products, butter, cheese, meat, palm and coconut oil;
- Monounsaturated fats: avocado, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, olive, mustard oil;
- Polyunsaturated fats: fatty fish (omega-3 and omega-6), soybean, sunflower and linseed oil, caviar, eggs, pine and walnuts, grape seeds, sesame seeds.

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And more about “healthy” fat!

Eggs.
They are rich in protein, micronutrients and amino acids. Saturated with tocopherol, carotenoids, folic acid, riboflavin. Especially useful for people with high physical activity.

Avocado.
Promotes normalization of vision, gives the body the necessary amount of fiber and good cholesterol. This product is often used as an alternative to mayonnaise or processed cheese. It goes well with other products.

Yogurt.
This product contains a large number of beneficial bacteria that help improve digestion and absorption of trace elements. In this case, it is better to pay attention to yoghurts with the lowest sugar content. There are many recipes for preparing the product at home.

Olive oil.
The composition contains a large amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Helps to strengthen the immune system.

Olives.
Most of them contain monounsaturated fats. Helps strengthen bones, reduce the risk of allergic reactions.

Nuts.
They have a high energy value, quickly satisfy hunger, therefore they are often used for weight loss. Nutritionists recommend consuming them between meals.

Sea fat fish.
It is recommended to consume the product at least 2 times per a week. This could help maintain proper levels of fatty acids in the body. It is best to choose trout, tuna, mackerel, and salmon.

Flax seeds.
They are saturated fatty acids, therefore it is especially valuable for people who cannot eat fish.

By consistently including this food in your diet, you can reduce the risk of cancer cells, improve heart health, and can also lower your cholesterol levels. The seeds are used for making salads and smoothies, for decorating pastries can also be taken as an oil (on the benefits of flaxseed oil).

Melted butter.
It can be used for frying, it does not change its structure under the influence of high temperatures. The product is stored for a long time without losing its pleasant taste and smell. The composition contains carotenoids, tocopherols. Also contains butyric acid to prevent inflammation and promote better digestion.

Dark chocolate.
The product contains minerals, antioxidants, and useful trace elements.

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Try to keep yourself from “bad” fats.

The most harmful fats include trans fats, which do not contain anything useful for humans. Moreover, many experts claim that they cause many diseases, including cancer. They also act as a source of harmful cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in blood vessels. These fats are artificially derived and are needed for the long-term preservation of foods. After all, everything natural quickly deteriorates, which complicates the transportation of products and their storage. The addition of trans fats, on the one hand, has solved this problem, but has caused the health of many consumers to deteriorate.

In order to eliminate unhealthy fats from your diet, read the label carefully. "Modified", "Cured", "Partially Hydrogenated" all indicate unhealthy trans fats.

Hope now you understand a little bit clearly what fats are, and you will be able to choose only those that are good for the body. This will help you avoid the development of many diseases, strengthen your immune system and lose weight without compromising your well-being.

To get your individual meal plan DM us. You are very welcome to make your life with our help much healthier!

If you do not have an individual intolerance to healthy foods, feel free to include them in your diet.

Remember: everything is good in moderation.

To know properly what fats you have to add or include from your meal plan reach us out to do a DNA test!

Cover photo by Fernanda Martinez on Unsplash

Julia Stecher is an award-winning fitness model, professional nutritionist, and certified personal trainer who provides personal training services in Zurich and online.

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