Fats have many different roles in our health including hormone production, immune function and providing structure to the walls of our cells! They are also an energy source. In fact, fat is the most energy dense macronutrient. Every 1g of fat contains 9kcal compared to protein and carbohydrates, both of which contain 4kcal/g.
There are different types of fat, some of which are better for us than others! Fats that contribute to our health are known as mono and polyunsaturated fats. They can be found in many foods including nuts/nut butters, avocados, olive & rapeseed oil. Oily fish is a great source of omega 3s, in particular the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA. Our bodies capacity to make these is limited so (as the name suggests) it’s essential that we include them in our diet!
Saturated and trans fats are mainly found in processed foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat. Foods like biscuits, cakes, processed meat (bacon/salami) and takeaways are high in these types of fats. These foods should be included sparingly in our diet, as overconsumption can have negative implications on our health.
As mentioned above, fat is an energy-dense macronutrient so the portion of fat on your plate should be slightly smaller compared to your protein or carbohydrates to account for this.
How can you increase your intake of healthy fats?
- Add 1/2 an avocado to scrambled eggs and toast
- Add a handful of nuts/seeds to a smoothie or yogurt with berries
- Use olive oil on your salad/when cooking
- Have oily fish 2 times/week. If you have a different source of animal protein usually try replacing it with salmon/mackerel for example on these days
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the role of fat in the diet so we hope this article has helped to clear some of them up!