Despite being essential for our inner health and outer beauty, fats (also known as oils and lipids) have been neglected for far too long. In addition to being an important energy source, fats have a role to play in all of our bodily functions, for example in the blood stream as well as for the visual, brain, nervous and reproductive systems. Fats are equally important for the formation and synthesis of both the epidermis and Vitamin D as well as our sex hormones… so eliminating them from our diet is simply not an option!
Of course, we all know that fats can be high in energy, however when consumed as part of a balanced diet, their widespread beneficial effects make them nutritional elements to be privileged. When considering the structural characteristics of fats and lipids, whether they are saturated or unsaturated is usually a good place to start:
- Saturated fats, usually known as ’bad fats’
- Unsaturated fats, usually known as ’good fats’
Here are three tips to control and balance your daily fat intake:
Tip #1 - Choose only one source of saturated fat per meal
In effect, saturated fats are to be limited as much as possible; an excess can cause inflammation of arteries and formation of fat deposits. Identifying the different types saturated fats will help you to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, weight gain and indigestion.
Saturated animal fats:
Butter, bacon, lard, tallow, cuts of meat such as rib steak, lamb shoulder, skin-on poultry, cream, cured meats, egg yolk, cheese, whole milk etc.
Saturated vegetable fats:
Palm oil, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, peanut oil etc.
Hidden saturated fats:
Pastries, biscuits, fried foods, sweet and salty snacks such as crisps and crackers, cakes, ready-made meals etc.
Meals consisting of rib steak, cheese sauce, chips, mayonnaise and indulgent desserts should be kept for special occasions. Spreading out the consumption of saturated fats throughout the week allows you to enjoy a little amount with every meal.
Tip #2 -Combine your choice of saturated fat with a source of unsaturated fat
The aim is to achieve a good balance between your consumption of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ fats — our bodies need twice as much unsaturated fat as saturated fat. All you need to do is choose a combination of unsaturated fats per meal, et voila!
Unsaturated animal fats:
Cold-water fish such as sardines, mackerel, herring, halibut, anchovies etc, fish oils, duck and goose fat.
Unsaturated vegetable fats:
Oils for both cooking and dressings (rapeseed oil, olive oil, linseed oil, walnut, hazelnut and camelina oil), oleaginous fruit (nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, avocado etc.), seeds and grains (pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, linseed etc.) and margarine.
Allow yourself to a generous daily handful (30g) of oleaginous fruits and two to four generous soup spoons of oil, this is best for optimum health and wellbeing!
Tip #3 - Add some fibre and drink some water!
On contact with water, fibre swells and forms a ‘mesh’ around our digestive tract. As a result, elements such as fats are less absorbed and less stocked. Fibre helps us with satiety, weight management, immunity, the regulation of intestinal transit and also prevents a number of illnesses, making it important to make sure our diet contains enough of it!
Savoury sources of fibre:
Raw vegetables, whole grains such as quinoa, wholewheat breads, wholegrain rice, pulses (lentils, beans etc.)
Sweet sources of fibre:
Raw or cooked seasonal fruits, whole wheat flours, for example tapioca and cornmeal.
Along with that rib steak and those french fries, some seasoned vegetables and salad with a sprinkling of oleaginous fruits is perfect!
So, it’s super simple — all you need to remember is this: saturated fat + unsaturated fat + fibre + water.