Let’s get the big one out the way first.
EATING FAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL GET FAT!!!
Well now that we have all calmed down, I think it is clear to see you probably have a few misconceptions about fat and how it affects your health. So, let’s crack on with blowing those old cobwebs away and showing you a more up-to-date view on fats.
Myth 1: I am putting on weight because I am eating too much fat
This is a very old-school view on dietary health and we have now found that the link between eating fat and getting fat is hugely exaggerated. It has been widely accepted now that glucose and other carbs from sweet, starchy and processed foods are the criminals behind weight gain as their sugars are quickly converted into fat by the liver.
What’s so much worse is the food that usually says they are “fat free”, hoping to draw you in with your healthy mindset actually have added sugars and starches which drive appetite and lead to weight gain rather than loss.
Of course, you can have too much of a good thing and fat is no exception, especially trans fats and some saturated fats as these can alter the balance of the bacteria in your gut, called your gut microbiome. These little critters help digest your food, control your mood and regulate your immune cell development and so changing your gut health is not a great idea. So, while it isn’t impossible to get fat from fats, it is much more likely that carbs are the culprit.
Myth 2: Saturated Fats are the incredibly unhealthy and must be avoided at all costs
Again, this is just so ancient! The initial view from the 1970s that saturated fats cause heart disease has been overturned by numerous different studies and we have since found that there is little or no link between the two at all.
Having said that, don’t go stuffing yourself with cheese quite yet! Just because there is a neutral link between the two doesn’t mean saturated fat is healthy. There are better alternative sources of energy such as unsaturated fats and whole grain carbs. But try to stay off refined, sugary carbohydrates, they are definitely worse than saturated fats along with trans fats too.
Myth 3: Unsaturated fats are good fats to eat
This one is a little harder to answer. Yes and no is probably the best way to summarise it! It has been well publicised that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats improves cardiovascular health and reduces your risk of heart disease and thankfully this is true!
Unfortunately, because they have an unstable structure, when they are heated up through cooking or frying they can easily become rancid. This creates toxic chemicals and lowers the nutritional value of the fats which is not great for your body. Olive oil is a little more stable than other oils like sunflower and rapeseed so it’s best to stick to them for any cooking.
Reset Your Health can provide a little more help if you want
Still a little confused on distinguishing the good fat from the bad? The Reset Your Health plan can help you with that! It is a 4-week meal plan tailored specifically to your dietary requirements and preferences. After this kickstart into the world of healthy eating the course then teaches you about what foods are good for your gut health, helping you make wiser culinary choices in the future. Try it today and blow that fog of confusion away!
- de Souza RJ et al. Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ. 2015; 351:h3978. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26268692
- Hooper L et al. Reduction in Saturated Fat intake for Cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jun 10;(6):CD011737. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26068959
- Heart Foundation. Sorting fat from fiction. Available from: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/news/sorting-fat-from-fiction
- Rogers C. Gut Well Soon: A Practical Guide to a Healthier Body and a Happier Mind. Panoma Press, 2019.