Back in the day, the word fat would send anyone quivering. The general consensus was to remove it from our diet whenever possible. Fortunately the level of scientific understanding around the subject has vastly improved over the past 20 years, where now we highlight fat for its crucial benefits to our body.
Not just does it offer a source of energy, it can support your immune system, it can improve your liver health and helps the body absorb vitamins, among its many benefits.
How Much Do Our Bodies Need?
A female should consume on average approximately 70 grams, while a male requires 90 grams. Of that 70 grams a female needs, only 20 grams should come from saturated fat, which is where many people fail.
It all really comes down to percentages. Many people I train with follow a 40-40-20 diet, where 40% is protein, 40% is carbohydrates and 20% is fats. You then need to work out your resting metabolic rate and the calorie intake you aim to consume each day and break it up into percentages.
If you want to gain an idea of how many calories you’ve consumed in fats, each gram equals 9 calories. Just to show the contrast, there are 4 calories in a gram of carbohydrate or protein.
What Fats Should I Avoid?
We’ve all heard of saturated fats, however it should be noted that it does bring along health benefits in small quantities. The issue is it is very easy to go over our targeted consumption within just a few bites of cheese or an extra helping of butter on our food.
Over consumption of saturated fat can increase the levels of cholesterol in the blood, which is linked to heart diseases and stroke.
If you see trans fats, then alarm bells should be ringing. The issue is that they aren’t likely to highlight this on the back of your food pack. These come in very small quantities in meat and dairy, but the issue is that they are multiplied tenfold in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which a lot of junk food is cooked in. Unlike saturated fat, trans-fats have absolutely no benefit to your body at all!
The good news if you are based in the UK is that it has actually been banned from most foods. In fact, all over Europe they have been trying to implement the same thing. The real victim is the USA, where everything is drowned in trans fats, good luck to their arteries!
On the front page of every nutritionist website, we all know we need to consume more omega 3, but not many people could give you a list of benefits, so that is where I’m going to start.
- They can lower elevated triglyceride levels, helping to lower your risk of heart disease
- Improves joint health, incredibly useful for battling arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- If you suffer from acne or psoriasis, symptoms are shown to alleviate through omega 3 consumption.
- Despite the necessity to your health, omega 3 is the only nutrient your body needs but cannot produce yourself.