Did you know that there are such things as good fats?
Take in the wrong type of fat and you’ll end up with clogged arteries, too much weight on your frame and a predisposition for all manner of life restricting conditions.
Conversely, a healthy dose of the good fats will promote joint strength, support muscle growth, enhance fat loss, improve blood sugar control and make you mentally sharper. Pretty compelling reasons to engage in a little Fat 101.
Saturated Fats: Not the Enemy
For decades now we’ve been told that saturated fat is our enemy – that it is primarily responsible for the obesity epidemic that we are now confronted with.
The basis for that conclusion was a study by researcher Ancel Keys from the early 1970’s which stated that there was a possible association between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease. Since then , however, more than 20 studies have been done which have concluded that there is no association between saturated fat and heart disease.
In fact a Japanese study involving 58000 people showed that people who had more saturated fats in their diet had 31% fewer strokes and 18% less cardiovascular disease.
Here’s why saturated fat is actually good for you:
- Saturated fats increase your levels of HDL cholesterol
- Saturated fats make the LDL cholesterol particles larger – larger particles lead to lowered heart disease risk.
- Increasing saturated fat intake lowers triglyceride and insulin levels in our blood.
- Saturated fats raise the body temperature, allowing our enzymes and immune system to operate optimally.
Humans have been consuming saturated fats for thousands of years. Yet, it has only been since we’ve been cutting them out in the last 30 years that we’ve seen the rate of heart disease sky-rocket.
It’s time to wise up and realise that saturated fats are health enhancing. After all, human breast milk contains 54% fat, of which half is saturated fat. That fact in itself gives us a huge clue as to how important these fats are.
The best forms of saturated fat are:
- Grass fed meat
- Whole eggs
- Coconut fat
Unsaturated fats can be either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. They are mainly derived from vegetables and plants. Unsaturated fats are mostly liquid at room temperature. They have the ability to lower blood cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fats contain healthy essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are the fatty acids that your body cannot manufacture and, therefore, must be supplied through the foods you consume.
The two main ones are Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Most people have no trouble getting enough Omega 6, which is plentiful in red meats and refined grains. It is Omega 3 which is lacking in the Western diet. A recent study identified the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of the typical Western diet as being 20:1. There is, therefore, a real need to increase our intake of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Here are 10 key reasons why you need more Omega 3 good fats in your body:
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Improve joint health
- Improve energy
- Enhance oxygen transfer
- Suppress cortisol production
- Improve skin texture
- Promote muscle growth
- Increase your metabolism
- Help burn fat
- Reduce Inflammation in the Body
10 Great Sources of Omega-3 Good Fats
You should add at least one rich source of Omega 3 good fats into your diet every day. The best source of Omega 3 is fatty fish. Plant sources such as flaxseeds and walnuts are also rich sources of Omega 3. Ground flaxseed is a great way to get your Omega 3. It can be used as a baking ingredient and even sprinkled on salads.
Here are the best sources to obtain your Omega 3 good fats:
(4) Albacore tuna
(7) Fish Oil
(8) Krill Oil
(9) Flaxseed Oil
Many people actually take a supplement to make sure that they are getting enough of this amazing fat source. 1.5 to 2.0 grams per day is an ideal dose. Alternatively you may wish to take one tablespoon of flaxseed oil per day. However you get it, make it your aim to eat more good fat in order to help your body to rid itself of bad fat.
Chowdhury R, Warnakula S, Kunutsor S, et al. Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine. Published online March 18 2014
Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM (March 2010). “Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91 (3): 535–46
USDA Nutrition Evidence Library. (2010). What is the effect of saturated fat intake on increased risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes?