The skinny on fats

Fitness & Spa

The nutritional world is a minefield of misinformation, no more so than when it comes to fats. We’re here this month to look at the facts about fats.

Bad fats

Within our diet we eat 4 different types of fats. These 4 fats are saturated fats, trans fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats. The first 2 mentioned, saturated and trans fats, both add to the bad cholesterol levels within the body (LDL). With an increase in these types of fats you will start to get a build-up of cholesterol within the arteries, which can bring problems such as heart disease and stroke. In short, avoid too many of these fats.

Good fats

On the other hand, we have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which both act in ways to help protect the heart and reduce the amount of LDL within the body. Monounsaturated fats are from sources such as olive oil. These fats are known to increase good cholesterol and lower the bad cholesterol within the body. They will also help increase the intake of vitamin E, a great antioxidant vitamin, further decreasing the chance of diseases.

The same can be said for polyunsaturated fats which provide the body with omega 3 and 6. These are known as essential fats, this is because the body can’t produce them naturally itself. It is believed that omega 3 is one of the more important omega fatty acids when it comes to fighting off inflammation and the effects bad fats have on
the body.

Effects of fats on the body

The body requires a balance of vitamins and minerals within the body to help it stay in homeostasis (optimal functioning). Some of these vitamins are fat soluble, meaning they require fats to be absorbed and transported by the body, these are vitamin A,D,E and K. Some vitamins, like vitamin D, help with things such as mood, depression and chronic diseases.

Not only that but if you weren’t to have enough vitamin D, your body would not be able to absorb calcium, showing that by not having enough of one thing can have a knock-on effect.

This also applies to training, feeling fatigued and down can sometimes be caused by a lack of certain vitamins and minerals. Making sure you’re having enough of the correct fats is always an important step to training and feeling the best you can.

What should I do?

When it comes to getting fats in the diet, it is important to focus on getting the correct type of fats and making sure you don’t consume too many. Within your diet you can get monounsaturated fats from foods such as olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts and avocados. You can also get polyunsaturated fats from walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, fish, soybean oil and safflower oil. This means you should swap foods with bad fats like cookies, cakes and some snacks for healthier alternatives with a better source of fats.

As ever, if you want to discuss fats and nutrition further, don’t hesitate to speak to one of the Fitness Team.

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