THE TRUTH ABOUT FATS Curbing all the myths | Nutrition & Lifestyle | Written by: Mabotja Kgabo Mosley


Photo cred: Havard health


here is a saying “fats will make you fat’’ and that is not entirely untrue because fats contribute the highest number of calories per serving as compared to other macronutrients such as carbohydrate and protein. But not all fat is bad and not all fat is good.

We have good fats and bad fats; the question is which fats are good for my health? And Yes if you eat too much fats either good or bad that can make you gain weight. The trick is to know how much of good fats can you consume daily to meet your daily requirements and avoid unnecessary weigh gain.


Sources of good fats

MUFA – Mono-unsaturated fatty acid

These fats are liquid at room temperature and they turn solid when chilled. A healthy diet should be high in MUFA. Mostly the good fats come from your plant sources. This includes your seeds, nuts and nuts oil, avocado, canola oil and your olive oil. Olive oil must be consumed raw because heating it changes the structural pattern and as such can’t be labelled as good anymore.



PUFA – Poly-unsaturated fatty acid

These are high in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Sources of omega 3 include fatty fish such as pilchards, soya bean oil, and walnut oil. Sources of omega 6 includes sunflower oil, corn oil and safflower oil. These kinds of fats are high in omega 3 and omega6 which are very important in protecting your heart.

Why good fat

We stress about consumption of good fats because they are important in certain functions in the human body. Fats in general are important for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins so which better way than to only allow that function to be carried out by the good fats that also serves function in maintaining our well being. Good type of fat is responsible for lowering LDL and increasing the HDL in the blood. High levels of HDL are beneficial as they have the ability to remove the bad cholesterol from the bloodstream thus reducing chances of heart diseases.


Trans Fats and SFA – Saturate Fatty acids

Most of these fats are heated at high temperature and hydrogenated. These kinds of fats are really bad for your health. The best you can do is keeping them out of your diet. Example includes lard, butter, fatty meat, cakes, cookies, coconut oil and all fried foods. These type of fat increases you LDL which increases risk of heart diseases.

Tips to reduce fat intake according to eat-well dietiticians:

  • Always remove the visible fat from the meat before cooking
  • Avoid all processed food and convenient food stuffs
  • Never fry your food rather boil, pouch, steam, braai or roast
  • Opt for low fat salad dressing
  • Take a pass on the coffee creamers
  • Use tub soft margarine
  • White meat has less fat and compared to its counterparts
  • Use low fat dairy options

Written by Mabotja Kgabo Mosley RD. (SA)

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