Fats tend to get a lot of bad press, but fats are an essential part of a healthy diet and are needed for a myriad of physiological processes. Reaching for unhealthy fats can increase your risk of many diseases, while opting for healthy fats can enhance health.
Why do we need fats?
Fats provide the body with a source of energy and keep skin smooth and hair shiny. Fats are necessary for the functioning of many of the body’s systems, and even for brain functioning.
Saturated versus unsaturated
Saturated fats and trans fats are the bad guys; unsaturated fats are the good guys. There are two types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated (canola, peanut oil, avocado oil and olive oil) and polyunsaturated (sunflower oil, corn oil, safflower oil). Saturated fats and trans fats are found in animal-based products and highly processed foods – these are the fats to stay away from.
Omega 3 and 6
Both omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids can protect against heart disease and other medical conditions, but omega 3 fatty acids are the ones you want to focus on. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in seeds and nuts.
Fats and weight
Many people assume that the global obesity epidemic is because of diets too high in fat, but fat intake in itself does not make you fat. Weight gain occurs due to number of poor dietary choices. These include eating too many unhealthy and highly processed foods, and too few healthy foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, often combined with insufficient physical activity.
This information is this article is intended for general purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.