Fat is Not The Villain Anymore?

It is received wisdom that fat is bad for health, widening the circumference of the waistline and narrowing that of arteries, making us unhealthy and obese. This reputation was brought on in 1970’s, when the international “Seven Countries Study” concluded that saturated fat is directly correlated with heart disease. Even though this informed global nutrition guidelines, cardiovascular disease is still world’s number one killer. How strange. Or is it? It is received wisdom that fat is bad for health, widening the circumference of the waistline and narrowing that of arteries, making us unhealthy and obese. This reputation was brought on in 1970’s, when the international “Seven Countries Study” concluded that saturated fat is directly correlated with heart disease. Even though this informed global nutrition guidelines, cardiovascular disease is still world’s number one killer. How strange. Or is it?

Is all fat the same?

Definitely not. But let’s see why we’re talking about fat in the first place. Fat is absolutely necessary for a normal functioning of our bodies. What fat does for us is:

  • Deliver vitamins A, D, E and K to our bodies
  • Wrap the nerve cells with protective myelin coat
  • Build cell membranes
  • Help white cells to recognize and destroy viruses and bacteria• Activate hormone leptin which regulates appetite and tells our brain when to stop eating

Fats are necessary for blood clotting and muscle movement. They also have a role in keeping the liver healthy. Do all fats bring these benefits to the table? No.

Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and recommendations say we should include them in our diet and home-made meals (link to Recipes) as much as possible. There are two types – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They’re mostly found in fish like salmon, trout, herring, mackerel and sardines; vegetable oils like sunflower, olive, corn, canola oils; nuts and sees such as peanuts, flax, walnuts and some fruits like avocados.

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and they are mostly found in meat and animal products like red meat, bacon, whole milk and whole milk dairy such as butter and cheese. Saturated fats are also contained in coconut oil and many commercially prepared baked goods. They have health benefits, but it’s best to keep their consumption under 10% in our daily diet.

Trans fat is the worst fat type, by general consensus. Trans fats are omnipresent. You can find them in almost anything that is commercially made. They are obtained through a chemical process called hydrogenation, in which healthy liquid oils are turned solid so they don’t become rancid. Trans fats have no known health benefits and there’s no prescribed daily intake that’s considered safe.

A bigger evil than fat?

One of the main reasons why fat, or saturated fat to be precise, got maligned was because it was thought it increased the bad LDL cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease. (There is also good HDL cholesterol.) That’s not the whole picture, though. The bad LDL cholesterol appears in two kinds: big, floaty particles called type A and small, dense particles called type B. Banishing saturated fat from “healthy” nutrition can decrease the A type of the bad LDL cholesterol. However, it is type B that is more closely connected to cardiovascular disease. The food that is actually linked to the level of the more dangerous type B of LDL cholesterol is carbohydrates. It’s very likely that a nutrition with a limited intake of carbohydrates will lower the risk of heart disease.

What’s the deal with fat then?

Our metabolism needs fat. That’s takeaway number one. Fats have an important role for our health, as we have pointed out above.

High fat diet can help you reach your weight loss goals. In one study, three groups of participants were fed with a diet that was 90% carbs, 90% protein and 90% fat. The “fat” group achieved the biggest weight loss.

No amount of trans fat is good. Everyone agrees that trans fat are harmful for your health. Healthy nutrition and diet plans at least minimize, if not eliminate, trans fats completely.

Interested in a high-fat weight loss programme?

One Body offers you 4 different programmes that focus on weight loss while including healthful fats in your nutrition. Our weight loss centre is located in the strikingly beautiful mountains of western Serbia, where you enjoy a holiday and have a health-boosting experience. Reach out to us for more information!