In the 90's there was a lot of media chatter talking about how you shouldn't eat fats & the easiest way to lose weight was to go on a low fat diet... because "fats make you fat".
Well, thats probably the biggest load of bull sh** that I've ever read. Eating fat won't make you gain weight, only in imbalance in energy requirements will. AKA, being in a caloric surplus.
Fats are essential in your diet, but there are some pretty big differences in the types of fats found in foods.
Soo, LETS CHAT FATS YO.
WHAT ARE DIETARY FATS?
Fats are made up of little structures called fatty acids & they're essential to your body, because you can't make them. The different types of fats include saturated, unsaturated & trans fats. Because of their chemical make-up & double bond structure, some of these fats you should avoid more than others.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FATS? Saturated fats are fat molecules that have no double bonds between the carbon molecules, which means that they are able to stack easier in your body. Saturated fats are linked to raising your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels & high levels can put you at risk for heart attacks, strokes & other major health concerns. The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends limiting your saturated fat consumption to about 5-6% of your calories, which is 13g if you have a 2,000 calorie diet. They can be found in fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, lard, cream, butter, cheese, dairy products along with fried & processed foods.
Trans fats are split up into two categories, naturally occurring & artificial trans fats. The naturally occurring trans fats are found in the gut of animals & the foods made from these animals (ex. milk & meat products). The artificial trans-fats are the ones that you should probably avoid. These are made through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Companies use trans fats because they are inexpensive & can create a long shelf life for their products. They also can give foods a more desirable taste & texture (Ex. fried foods like doughnuts or baked goods like cakes). Trans fats are linked to raising your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels & lowering your HDL (good) cholesterol levels. They can also increase your risk for developing heart disease, strokes & type-2 diabetes.
Unsaturated fats are the “good guys” because they contain one or more double bonds, found liquid at room temperature & because of that, have a positive effect on your health. They’re linked to lowering risk factors for vascular disease, heart disease & stroke. The ways that unsaturated fats affect your body are not fully known, but studies have shown that they can lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase your HDL (good) cholesterols levels. Unsaturated fats are split up into monounsaturated, one double bond, and polyunsaturated, multiple double bonds. Monounsaturated fats can be found in olive, peanut & canola oils, avocados, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin & sesame seeds. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in sunflower, corn, soybean & flaxseed oils, walnuts, flax seeds, fish & canola oil.
WHAT DO FATS DO IN THE BODY? Fats give your body energy to work, because theres only so many glycogen stores your body can go through before it has to tap into fat cells. They also help to keep your skin & hair healthy, insulate your body to keep you warm, control inflammation, prevent blood clotting & aid in brain development... so needless to say- they're important. Fats are also essential in the absorption of vitamins A, D & E because they’re fat-soluble, which means that they have to be in the presence of fat to be broken down & utilized.
OKAY, SO WHAT NOW?
On the basis of trying to live a healthy life, avoiding saturated & trans fats is probably a good place to start. That means lots of fatty fish, avocados, flaxseed oils, olive oils, nuts & seeds; while having the processed treats in moderation. Now that doesn't mean that you can never eat a doughnut again, because I'm all about balance, but try to lets mostly stick with sources that are made up of up unsaturated fat.