Fats are not the enemy guys! Some clever marketing in the 80s and 90s around choosing “fat free” options has unfortunately scared us all into avoiding this precious nutrient.
Yes! Fat is a nutrient!! And an essential one at that.
We have three macronutrients as humans: carbohydrates, proteins and fat. We need them all in our diet, however, the ratios of how much of each one we consume has be skewed over the years as we try to navigate confusing food labelling and advertising.
Fat is important inside the human body for so many reasons:
- Our nerves are coated with a layer of fat called the myelin sheath which helps to ensure messages are smoothly conveyed around the body.
- All of the cells in our body are encased in a lovely little fatty skin that keeps all of the important stuff in and functioning correctly.
- Our sex hormones are made of cholesterol! This explains why losing excess body weight can contribute to a disruption of the menstrual cycle – a term known as amenorrhea.
- Certain nutrients are fat soluble meaning that they require fat to be absorbed into the body, so if we are not consuming fats, important nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, E and K are difficult to obtain from food.
- The various layers of our skin have fats as an integral building block which not only affects certain skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis but also the appearance of our skin – there’s no better night serum than eating a balance diet!
Don’t go gorging yourself on French fries and pork belly, not all fats are created equal. You want to focus mainly on consuming mono and polyunsaturated fats predominantly. This includes olive oil, fish, flaxseeds, nuts, seeds and avocado.
Really limit your saturated fats such as most red meats and dairy, while avoiding trans fats which includes margarine, vegetable oils and any fried or processed foods.
If you feel overwhelmed or want some help assessing your current diet I’d recommend booking a consultation with a naturopath or nutritionist.