Fats often get a bad rap in the press, on TV and in advertising. It has been driven into us that we must reduce or eliminate fat altogether to pave the way to our desired physique, but if you look deeper into fats you may find an unlikely ally in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. To find out more, read on for Fats: 5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know but Should!
1. Super Powers of Fat
There are three types of fat that are essential to supporting important functions of the body: Saturated, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated. Saturated and Monounsaturated fats can help produce good cholesterol in the body and support the production of hormones. Polyunsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent injuries and certain diseases.
2. Know Thy Enemy & Where it’s Hiding!
The bad fats are hydrogenated fats and trans-fats. These are the real villains and they give the others a bad name. In Joe Wickes’ “Lean in 15″ book (the red one if you don’t already have it) the popular body coach states that: Low-fat ready meals, for example, may be low in saturated fat but they are often loaded with hydrogenated trans-fat types to increase their shelf-life. Always check the label as you may find a nasty surprise in what you think is a healthier option.
3. All Aboard the Vitamin Express…
Vitamins are split into two different types: water-soluble and fat-soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K and can only be absorbed into the body through fat. These vitamins are important in supporting and maintaining your vision, immune system and bone health. They act as antioxidants, preventing the clotting of blood cells and help lower the risk of heart disease.
4. Fats Provide Protection & Temperature Control
Fats can protect organs by having an added physical layer of protection and also keep organs insulated. The anti-inflammatory properties of the polyunsaturated ones help protect nerve endings and they can also be used to build nerve tissue. They also regulate your body temperature releasing heat when you get too cold.
5. Can Help Keep Snacks at Bay
Fats take longer to digest than other macronutrients, this is determined by the energy release and demands of each macronutrient. Carbohydrates are the highest fuel source in demand followed by protein. Fat releases energy slowly over time and therefore are last to be digested. The upside of this is that eating the right types can make you feel less hungry and therefore less likely to reach for random snacks throughout the day.