Contrary to popular belief, fat is essential to your health. Our bodies require carbohydrates, fats and protein in order to survive. Calories are broken down in these three groups, which are equally important for your health.
Your body feeds off carbohydrates, then fat and, finally, protein. Stay away from a diet that recommends cutting out one of these groups”you’ll lose weight, but you’ll also lose an entire group that is essential to your health. And your health is, ultimately, more important.
Still not convinced that fat is good for you? Your brain is more than 70% fat”need we say more? Your liver needs new fat in order to break down old fat, and fat helps absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. Vitamin A is known for its important role in sight and vitamin D for the health of your skin and bones, as it improves the absorption of calcium. Vitamin E possesses antioxidant powers while your blood coagulation relies on vitamin K.
Don’t get the idea that fat is completely innocent, though; as with carbohydrates and protein, there’s the good, the bad and the not-so-bad. The negative connotation assigned to fat is correctly derived from the bad fat in junk food and processed foods, but good fats are as essential to your health as protein and carbohydrates are. Fat is good for you and should make up to 15% to 25% of your daily food intake, so get your fat from the right places.
Bad fats are namely trans fats”which raise the levels of bad cholesterol in the body”and saturated fats, such as butter, margarine, shortening and lard. Bad fat, often found in processed foods, clogs your arteries and is associated with obesity and disease.
Your body wants unsaturated fats, so check nutrition labels for mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. Your best sources are nuts, oils (olive, canola), dairy (if you’re overweight, you can aim for low- or non-fat choices) and avocados (a fruit that can reduce belly fat and keep liver, skin and nails healthy). If you’re battling a big craving, give in to a piece of dark chocolate.
Swap fried food for baked, creamy dressings for a tasty vinaigrette, and creamy soups for a broth-based equivalent.
It won’t be easy; the bad fats are so tempting, with their tendency to create pleasing textures and their heightened sense of flavour, thanks to unnecessary amounts of sugar and salt. But fat tends to be tasty, even in its healthier forms, so maybe eating well isn’t so difficult after all. Besides, you just found out fat is good for you”news doesn’t get much better than that!