Unfortunately, modern dieting trends have seen the obsession of people avoiding becoming ‘fat’ lead to confusion about the role of ‘fats’ in nutrition.
Fats are essential for the human body to operate correctly; it is simply a matter of feeding on the right types and amounts.
Fats are important because they aid in nutrient absorption, nerve transmission and in maintaining the integrity of cell membranes (among other things).
There are three main categories that fats fall into. These are saturated, unsaturated and trans fats.
Unsaturated fats are the good kind, while saturated fats and trans fats are to be avoided.
Unsaturated fats can be classified as either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats are most commonly found in fish and fish oil, soy, corn, sunflower oils. Omega 3 fatty acids, lauded for their positive brain benefits, fall in this category. Monounsaturated fats can be found in many types of nuts, avocados, canola and olive oils.
Saturated fats are bad because they raise your total blood cholesterol levels and are mainly found in animal-based products; meat, dairy, eggs and seafood are the main culprits here. Trans fats are actually man-made fats, and came about from companies trying to prolong the shelf life of packaged food. The main ones to avoid are fried food, fast food outlets, and anything that looks as though it could sit on a shelf for a lifetime.
Remember, you need some fats and not others, it is about getting the right balance!