Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Fat Is Not The Enemy

Today this blog looks to discuss fat(s). The idea of a low fat/no fat diet is often branded around for weight loss. The truth is that fat DOES NOT make us fat. The simple science is that is we eat more calories than we burn off they get stored by our body as fat. So it is (excess) calories that make us fat. If we eat too much, we put on weight/fat. It is also true that we need fat in our diet; most fat is good for us. However, it is true that gram for gram, fat contains more calories (9) than carbohydrates and protein (around 4). It is; therefore, fine to include fats within our daily calorie allowance.

There are four different types of fat out there; Trans fats, saturated fats, mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats.

Trans Fats

Ok, these are fats that we should definitely try to avoid as much as possible. These are man made fats. According to the National Academy of Sciences suggests that trans fats contain no known benefit to humans with regards to health. It is also suggested that trans fats lower the amount of good cholesterol in our bodies, which increases the risk of coronary heart disease. There are other suggestions as to the adverse affects of trans fats. There is a suggestion that the risk of type 2 diabetes increases with trans fat consumption. There is also investigation into theories suggesting that risk of cancer may be increased with eating trans fats. A study published in Archives of Neurology looks into the theory that the consumption of trans, and saturated, fats promote the development of Alzheimer disease.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are animal fats, and really do have a fairly bad press. Saturated fats are nowhere near as bad for us as trans fats, or as bad as they are sometimes made out to be. Saturated fats have been linked with diseases, such as cardio-vascular disease, for example. In reality, in moderation, and eaten with good fats, saturated fat is not a huge problem to our health.

Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated

These are the best fats that are good for our bodies. Foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is great for us. It is also possible that these fats help to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. However, this is still in debate.

Ultimately it is all about moderation. Fats are certainly not our enemy, so looking at the fat content of food is not what we should be doing. We should, however, be aiming to cut out trans fats as much as possible, and we should be more focussed on the calorie intake of our food. Fats are an important part of our diet, but should not make up more than 30% of it.


  1. Here here! Too much misinformation about fat out there, nice write up.

    1. So much bad information out there. Fat is pretty important to our health, it's just about not eating the bad fat and not eating too much!

  2. Is this real? I thought we needed to avoid fat!

    1. Yes this is accurate. Fats are not all the same, and some are essential to our health!