It's a hot topic, that's for sure. Back in the 90's everyone was on the the low-fat/no-fat band wagon. However, in recent years, society (and science!) has moved to encourage a moderate intake of healthy fats.
First things first - Eating fat doesn’t make you fat! Adding fat into your diet is really important for your metabolism, cognition, vitamin metabolism and healthy skin & nails. But, it's important to note that when eaten in large amounts, all fats, (even healthy fats!), can contribute to weight gain.
The recommended intake for an Australian adult is 70g of Fat per day (which is roughly 30% of the total energy intake for the day.) It's important that we DO EAT FAT as your body needs essential fatty acids like linolenic acid, we can't produce this ourselves, so you need to get this from healthy fats in your diet. Inadequate fat intake is likely to result in dry skin & hair, hormonal imbalances, fatigue and deficiencies in fat soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E and K).
But, whilst eating fat is important, not all fats are created equal. Saturated Fat is something you want to limit your intake of, it has been liked to an increased risk of heart disease and obesity. Saturated Fat is commonly found in processed, packaged foods along with some animal products.
On the flipside, Unsaturated Fats (i.e. polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat) (typically found in avocado, nuts, oily fish, extra virgin olive oil) are good for your heart health and have been found to have a positive effect on cholesterol levels.
So when it comes to eating fat, luckily, it’s quite simple. Stick to whole foods where you recognise the ingredient. Aim for to eat more plant-based fats as animal products tend to have more saturated fat and cholesterol.
How to increase your intake of healthy unsaturated fats
Swap butter for a generous smear of avocado on your morning toast.
You'll get a great hit of Vitamin E and the taste is delicious!
Switch to Extra Virgin Olive Oil when cooking.
Spend extra for the ‘extra virgin’ olive oil as it’s high antioxidant content keeps it stable at room temperatures.
Pick some oily proteins!
Yep. 1-2 serves of oily fish like salmon, trout and sardines. They're all great sources of Omega 3 healthy fats helps with brain and heart health.
Drop in some dairy.
Dairy really is a nutrition powerhouse, full of fat soluble vitamins, calcium and vitamin D. All great for bone health. Try adding parmesan to your next salad.
Nibble down on nuts.
Nuts are full of healty fats, protein, Vitamin E and fibre. Try to pick the unsalted variety when you can. Add them to salads, top a stir-fry, chop them up and coat fish or chicken with them. Maybe even make these Cacao & Hazelnut Bliss Balls.