What the Fat?
Fats are essential for good health. They provide satiety (the feeling of being full), add flavour and texture to food.
The role that they play in the human body is extremely important:
Insulate and protect the body
Below the Surface of the skin lies the subcutaneous fat. That layer helps maintain body temperature. The visceral fat is packed around the vital organs, such as the kidney, to protect them from jostling around and getting injured.
Aid fat-soluble vitamin absorption and transport
Fats that are found in food carries fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) to the small intestine. Once there, dietary fat assists in the absorption and transportation around the body.
Fat is a rich source of energy with each gram providing 37 kilojoules or 9 calories.
Was cutting it really wrong?
Approximately twenty to thirty years ago, many national public health bodies sent out the message to choose low-fat options at every opportunity. That was driven by the increasing rates of obesity and assumptions that excess dietary fat was the cause.
What really happened was that it was removed from many products. This has unfortunately done nothing to reduce instances of overweight or obesity in today's population.
So where did we go wrong?
Many of the high-fat foods were replaced with foods higher in sugar and/or the other macronutrients. In most of these cases, they were, and are, more processed and not necessarily healthier options.
The underlying message of reducing total saturated fat intake is still relevant (there is excellent research to support lowering saturated fat intakes for heart health), however, the context around it and the implementation can be misunderstood.
Fat and fad diets
The latest eating craze - Keto, is a diet that promotes higher intakes of fats and little to no carbohydrates.
The Keto diet has been around since the 1920s and has been widely used to treat children with drug-resistant epilepsy with success. It is still prescribed today in those individuals who do not respond to antiseizure medication.
In the general population, diets high in saturated fats can negatively impact your heart health and cholesterol levels. Because low carbohydrate diets, such as Keto, are low in fibre which can upset the balance of the microbiome in your gut. And from this upset within the gut, it in turns increases the risk of having colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
On a more practical level, the Keto diet requires strict adherence to a meal plan that limits (or eliminates) entire food groups. If a diet suggests avoiding or restricting a food or food groups there should be a "Proceed with Caution" sign attached.
In the meantime, stick to the basics. Eat a variety of foods, with an emphasis on plants and increase your exercise.
What help with your nutrition? Contact Discipline Fitness, today!