Dr. Tanya Cates (PHD)
Myth: all fats should be avoided if trying to lose weight or be healthy
Let’s cut right to the good part… Some healthy fat is essential! Reduced risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol are two benefits to be gained from incorporating some unsaturated fat in your diet. Fat provides essential nutrients and should be an important part of a healthy eating plan.
Go on and enjoy eating ‘good’ fats, such as polyunsaturated fats (e.g., omega 3 and omega 6 fats found in fish and nuts and safflower or soybean oil) and monounsaturated fats (e.g., olive and canola oil, avocado, cashews, and almonds) in moderation. These fats can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol. The heart foundation Australia suggests 25g a day of added unsaturated fat within a 6000kj a day diet.
The sneaky fats that you want to reduce or avoid are the saturated ones that are normally solid at room temperature. These are often found in dairy foods (e.g., butter, cheese) and processed meat. These types of fats have been linked to heart disease.
While melted butter on hot toast can be delicious on a cold day, or after you have had a cheeky night out with mates, and fish and chips on a Friday night with the family used to be a tradition, these sneaky trans fats are the ones that can raise the levels of bad cholesterol in the body while decreasing the levels of good cholesterol.
On the flip side, for reduced risk of heart problems and great looking healthy skin, eyes and brain, a modest consumption of healthy unsaturated fats are the best choice. Enter the humble avocado.
Rather than myths, shall we add an unsaturated fat fact, avocados, nuts, seeds, olives are shown to protect us from a range of chronic diseases, especially heart disease. You see it isn’t all bad, let’s make sure we have got the facts!! Unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) are considered healthy fats. These types of fats, which are typically liquid at room temperature, are called “healthy fats” or “good fats” because they are beneficial for your overall health, including your heart and your cholesterol level.
Monounsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in
1. Olive, peanut, and canola oils.
3. Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans
4. Seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Suggested tips and tricks:
• Consume legume- or bean-based meals twice a week.
• Snack on nuts or add them to your cooking.
• Throw avocado in salads.
• Use table spreads that have less than 0.1g of trans fats per 100g.
• Use extra virgin olive oil in cooking.