The Truth About Eating Fats

By Jess Bloom, Nutritionist 

This is actually one of my favourite nutrition topics to discuss, because there have been SO many different myths around fats in our lifetime. Low fat diets were sweeping the nation 20 years ago with supermarket brands splattering ‘Low Fat’ on as many products as possible to make a sale. These days the tables are turning, low fat? Not interested! 

Just like anything else, moderation is key, so sources of fat shouldn’t be consumed in super high quantities but as part of a balanced diet there are so many benefits! And for context, fats contain 9 calories per gram (compared to protein and carbs which is 4 calories per gram). 

To make this article easier to digest (pun intended) let me briefly explain the 4 different types of fat that you could have in your diet and then all the myths will make sense. 


Saturated Fats 

This is something you would generally find solid at room temperature, for example butter, coconut oil, cheese and ghea. Saturated fats are actually great for our immune system, they’re antimicrobial, they enhance the liver function so they help protect us against alcohol.# 


Monounsaturated Fats  

Great for our cardiovascular health, think Mediterranean diet. Things like olive oil, avocado, eggs yolk, nuts, olives. Ideally you want to consume these things raw and not heated up to get the full benefits. Heating olive oil will cause the beneficial compounds to degrade due to its low smoke point, so if using oils for cooking it’s best to stick to those with a higher smoke point (meaning they don’t lose their health benefits when heated) avocado oil, peanut oil and sunflower oil are all good options for cooking.  


Polyunsaturated Fats  

The holy grail of the healthy fats. These are your omega 3’s and omega 6’s. Amazing for your hair, skin and nails, great for decreasing inflammation in the body, lowering cholesterol, supporting mental function, your immune system and just generally a nutrient powerhouse. I highly recommend ensuring you’re getting enough omegas in your diet, even if it’s just for the glossy hair and glowing skin alone! These are things like oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel), cod liver oil, flax seed oil, walnuts, almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds. 


Trans Fats 

Totally fine to be consumed in small quantities but essentially these provide no nutritional benefit and will contribute to things like high cholesterol, immune disfunction and heart disease. These are the fats that have given the other guys a bad rep! So, think anything ‘processed’ – pies, pastries, cakes, margarine, you know the drill. Ideally you want the majority of the fats in your diet coming from the other types of fats, with trans fats being the minority, nothing needs to be cut out completely! (because life is too short to not have cake!) 


Fats in general are so important for our body, they’re responsible for the formation of all cell membranes, help regulate enzymes, they help protect internal organs (this is through our energy stores known as our ‘adipose tissue’ e.g. where we store excess body fat) so hopefully you’ll never be drawn in by the ‘low fat’ marketing tools again! 


How about some great examples of some healthy fats you can include in your diet this week?!  

  • Chia pudding. Simply soak your chia seeds with some coconut milk overnight and then add some fruit on top in the morning, you can also mix in a bit of honey for some extra sweetness! 
  • Boiled eggs and avocado on rice cakes with a drizzle of flax oil and some salt and pepper is a fantastic breakfast or snack idea. 
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel is a perfect ‘on the go’ breakfast option. 
  • Homemade hummus which is essentially just blended chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper is great to have in the house as a snack with some pitta or rice cakes. Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds which is a great source of omega 6 plus the raw olive oil which as we know is rich in monounsaturated fats. 

I hope reading this has maybe busted another myth you may have heard at some point! My main goal as an Online Coach is to not only give my clients the tools to achieve their health and fitness goals but to also educate along the way. There’s no point just being told what to do, knowing why is the most important part! 

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