This week Form 360 takes a different turn - still we introduce 4 simple habits that can change your life for the better but this time they are all based around the same topic - fat.
For years we have been, and are still, told by nutritionists and government guidelines for health, that fat is bad. However, this has been proven wrong by scientists and medical professionals countless times and yet still 0% fat yogurt sales are through the roof. Even though the lack of fat in products such as yogurt is substituted by adding sugar, which we all know by now is a silent killer. 100 grams 0% fat yogurt can often contain as much as 8-10+ grams of sugar which is nothing but scary.
Fat does not make us fat. Yes, it may contain more calories per gram than protein and carbs, but fat makes food more flavourful and satiating, which means you do not need much to feel satisfied and maintain a healthy weight. It is also desired by our bodies and is therefore used by our bodies when we digest it. Fat is VITAL to our absorption of nutrients that we need to stay healthy. Unlike eating the excessive amounts of sugar hidden in our foods, where we only find ‘empty’ calories (containing nothing needed by the body apart from instant energy that we can gain more efficiently from other foods). The fructose from these foods gets immediately metabolised by the liver, where it gets turned straight into fat and then secreted into the blood. Yum.
Unrefined animal fats, fatty fish, and fat from plants such as avocado, olives and nuts are necessary to help our bodies to absorb nutrients like vitamins A,D,E and K and antioxidants. Fat is important in giving your cells structure and omega-3 fats are very important for heart, brain and optimum nerve function.
Healthy fats are used to promote healthy brain function and memory recall. High fat and low-carb diets like Ketosis have been found in recent studies to actually reverse the effects of disease like Alzheimer’s and improve cognitive function and memory. Before switching to this diet please ensure you do lots of research and are aware of the effects it can have on your body.
Healthy fats can be used as your main source of energy for your body. By using healthy fats rather than carbohydrates as your main source of energy, you can help to maintain consistent high-energy levels rather than the spikes and troughs we experience as a result of eating carbohydrates - this is a result of carbs becoming glucose in the body, resulting in raising your insulin levels and causing spikes in your energy levels. This is why many of us experience an ‘afternoon slump’ where we reach for sugar (again!) to perk us back up until we reach another trough in a couple of hours. Fats do not raise our insulin levels and therefore give us steady energy levels, making us feel great!
Fat comes in two main forms: unsaturated and saturated fat. Unsaturated fats are oils — the kind that are fluid at room temperature (such as olive and canola oils). Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (think a stick of butter or blob of coconut oil). You need both kinds in your diet - unsaturated fats are slightly preferred as they are easier for your body to digest.
There is however one type of fat that your body does not need - trans fats: artificial trans fats or trans fatty acids are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. These are found in foods such as frozen pizzas, cookies, pie crusts and margarine.
Healthy fats are nourishing and often feel like a ‘treat’ for the soul. Avocados, whole eggs, cheese, coconut oil and peanut butter, are thing we relish and are delicious, providing you with a kind of comfort food that is also great for your health. These natural sources of food can lift our energy levels and mood, and help us to live our best life.