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Do FATS make you fat? (Macros part 3)

Fats - They don't make you fat!

The 90’s dieting craze of fat-free everything seems to remain in the backs of our minds today, but not all fats are equal.

Fats are absolutely essential to health, contributing to energy production and reserves, maintaining the quality of cell membranes and how well they function & communicate, and the production of hormones. The brain is made up mostly of fat, our organs are insulated and protected by it, and we require fat within foods to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K.

Aim to include unheated Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated fats in your diet from sources such as flax, olive and hemp oils, nuts & seeds, and oily fish, and to limit the amount of saturated & trans-fats from processed foods & animal products.

There are many types of fats, but the essential ones (the ones we cannot make ourselves and so must consume) are the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) Omega 3 & Omega 6 (another post on these later). Omega-6 is easily found in abundance in most diets but Omega-3 less so. Sources of Omega-3: hemp seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, algae, oily fish, and very small amounts in some vegetables.

Many oils contain more than 1 type of fat, so look for the ones which contain higher ratios of MUFAs & PUFAs, and less of the saturated fats, such as olive, hemp, almond, and flax.

The world health organisation (WHO) recommends that less than 30% of daily calories should come from (healthy) fats, making effort to avoid saturated and trans-fats where possible such as found in animal-heavy and junk-food heavy diets.

So why are many people scared of eating fat and others are over-doing it (e.g. The Atkins Diet/Keto diets)? The same old answer to the protein, and health & wellness industry hype. Fat is essential but quality is key, and don't over-consume it, we only need a small amount.

One effect of the fat-free frenzy of processed supermarket goods is that when the fat is removed from foods, so is some of the flavour. So what can we add to make it still taste good after removing the fat content? Sugar and sweetener. And now we're entering another realm of issues for those consumers choosing fat-free products in an effort to lose weight.

Lets be clear here, no macronutrient directly causes weight gain, excess calories do. If you consume too many calories of any type of food, you will gain weight. End of. There are however other influencing factors which we will talk about in another post, such as hormonal input and appetite regulation but the basics are- fat does not equal fat.

Following a low-fat diet is also not necessarily 'no-fat', as long as you are mindful to include sources of those essential fats we talked about earlier. Low-fat eating styles have numerous benefits, mostly due to the avoidance of saturated and trans-fats.

Note: if you are trying to lose weight, fat contains more calories per gram (9cals/g) than carbs and protein (4cals/g) so be mindful of over-consuming fat in your meals.


To learn more about nutrition and how it effects your health, sign up to my mailing list here to stay up to date. This post is part 3 of a series about Macros.

For a tailored nutritional plan that suits your specific macronutrient needs, book a consultation today. Head over to the booking page here for more information.


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