Fat is a nutrient – some fats are considered good and some are considered bad. Many fats are indigestible and unusable by the body while some fats are indispensable to our health. There are polyunsaturated, unsaturated, saturated, monounsaturated, hydrogenated fats and cholesterol. Animal fat or plant-based fat? Which ones are good? which ones are bad? WELL, keep reading...
- Polyunsaturated fat: – are the least saturated fat (liquid in room temperature) like: canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil… these oils all promote cancer, yes they are from plants so why they are not good for you? – Because they have been refined, processed and stripped of the fiber, protein and carbohydrates. They are nothing but empty calories. On the other hand, polyunsaturated fatty acid from raw whole food, such as nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables, are healthy and can easily be utilized by the body.
- Monounsaturated: Avocados, nuts, seeds, olives/olive oil. How about olive oil, is it good or bad for your health? In his video Dr.Michael Klapper explains very well: click here to watch.
- Unsaturated fat: Mixed of mono and polyunsaturated. They make up the bulk of plant fats.
- Saturated fat: Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the individual carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. That is, the chain of carbon atoms is fully “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. Sources of saturated fat: all animal products, palm oil, coconut oil and chocolate candy bars. Saturated fat is linked to cancer and many other diseases. Coconut oil may pose less health risk when consumed raw compared to cooked saturated fats.
Medical, Heart-health and governmental authorities, such as the World Health Organization, the American Dietetic Association, the Dietitians of Canada, the British Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, the British Heart Foundation, the World Heart Federation, the British National Health Service, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the European Food Safety Authority advise that saturated fat is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). (2)
- cholesterol: waxy fat produced by the body and found in animal products. The consumption of animal products is linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many other health problems.
- hydrogenated fat: Hydrogenation is a process of adding hydrogen molecules to unsaturated fats, turning liquid oils into more saturated. Hydrogenated fat is found is fast-food and processed food.
What’s fat for?
Fats serve a wide variety of functions in the human body. They play many important roles like:
- production of hormones,
- regulation and assimilation of nutrients and vitamins A, D, E and K,
- excretion of waste products by every cell,
- fat is the primary insulator within the body – which protects us from cold and heat and many other functions.
It is not right to say that all fats are bad. Fats are a concentrated source of fuel, providing more than double the calories per gram compared to carbohydrates/protein. There is a reason why you feel satiated for longer after eating a meal containing some fat: – Fat is very difficult to digest. (1)
So how much fat should we eat?
According to the World Health Organization recommends 15% of the calorie intake should come from fat. In Dr.Graham’s book “The 80/10/10″ he recommends 10%. Dr. Dean Ornish also recommends only 10% fat. Many physicians famous for their work in nutrition have written on the health benefits of a low-fat diet, Including John McDougall, Michael Klapper, Neal Barnard and others. They all agree that approximately 10% of total calories from a plant-based fat is more than adequate and that health declines when fat consumption is above 15%. (1)
A high-fat diet not only destroy our health, but it also prematurely age us, as well. Due to our inability to taste fat we tend over eat it without noticing that we may be having more than we should.
>To make it simple: If you don’t want or have time to calculate how much fat you are eating start by avoid eating animal products (they are high in fat/cholesterol). Eating a low-fat diet means eating more whole foods, cooking with no oil, no added oil in any meal or salad. If you like eating salads with dressings look for low-fat dressing / recipes.
Eating a plant-based diet will provide enough Polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3) with no need for concentrated sources of omega-3.
Note that If you add 1 tbsp olive oil to a meal/ salad you are adding 119 calories to that meal. So, if you are trying to lose weight – oils are not you friend.
If you like eating nuts/seeds or avocados… choose one of them and add to your salad! It will not only look beautiful but it will be healthy and it will taste great!
Have any questions? Don’t hesitate: leave a question/comment below!
(1) The AAA diet book