When it comes to healthy eating, many people try to banish fats from their plate – known as dietary fats. It is widely known that fats cause various health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. But should we totally avoid fat?
We spoke to Vasiliki Gourgouli, a dietician at the leading health and wellness retreat, Chenot Palace Weggis, to discover the truth about fats and find out which fats can support the body to empower overall health.
Does our body need fats?
Fat is a significant source of energy, and an essential nutrient in your diet as protein and carbohydrates are. Many bodily functions rely on the presence of fat. It is vital for muscle movement, blood clotting, and it also affects the inflammation in your body. Moreover, because of fat, your body can produce hormones, build cell membranes and absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. So, if we are considering the above facts, we would say – yes, your body needs fats.
Are there different types of fat?
There are four types of dietary fat in your diet, which can be found either in animal-derived food sources or plant-based food. Each of them has a different chemical structure and physical properties, which can be either harmful or beneficial to your health.
Trans fats are industrial made by-products of a process called hydrogenation, which is used to change their chemical structure from a liquid into a solid. They are considered as the unhealthiest fats and should be avoided. Keep in mind there are no known health benefits and no safe level of consumption! Foods that contain trans-fats are margarine, fast food, industrially made cookies, pastries, and French fries. Even a small amount of trans-fat can have a negative impact on your health. This type of fat not only increases the level of bad LDL cholesterol but also lowers the beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in your blood. Moreover, trans fat triggers inflammation in your body that leads to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
Saturated fat is also known as an unhealthy fat that has a solid structure at room temperature like butter. Scientific based evidence has shown that consuming high levels of saturated fat may raise your harmful LDL cholesterol levels in your blood, which is linked to heart disease and stroke. Recent studies show that saturated fats may not be as bad as previously thought, but still have to be consumed in moderation and ideally be replaced with healthy fats. You may find saturated fat, mainly in animal-derived foods like red fatty meat, butter, lard, and full-fat dairy products.
On the other hand, mono-and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy fats. They tend to be liquid at room temperature like vegetable oil. Evidence has consistently shown that mono- and polyunsaturated fats can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. They might also affect your gut flora.
Polyunsaturated fats are also known as essential fats. Since your body cannot produce them, you need to take them through your food! Mainly there are two types of essential fats, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, each of them are providing a lot of health benefits. It seems that polyunsaturated fats can decrease the level of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood, which is linked with cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. The best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are oily fish like sardines, mackerel, and salmon, whereas omega-6s can be found in vegetable oil, nuts, and seeds. The Chenot diet plan consists of healthy fats and non-processed ingredients, providing anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties to replenish your wellness.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy fat
The modern lifestyle diet is rich in unhealthy fats; it contains far more omega-6 fats than necessary and not enough omega-3 fats. On the opposite, the Mediterranean dietary pattern, which is known for its great health benefits, is rich and well-balanced in healthy fats, which are leading to anti-oxidative potentials, anti-inflammatory properties, and gut microbiota modulation.
Rely on quality instead of quantity
Remember, the composition, and not the amount of dietary fat, is significant for your overall health.
If you're interested in enhancing your health at the renowned medical spa retreat, Chenot Palace Weggis, call to speak to one of our wellness travel specialists on +44 (0)203 886 0082 or request a callback here.