Our bodies need fat to function but there is a lot of misunderstanding about what is fat. There are fat soluble vitamins (Vitamins A D E K) which are important for our health and well being, especially vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D are risk factors for infections, heart disease and kidney disease. New research indicates that we don’t get enough vitamin D in our diets. The main source is from fatty fish and cod liver oil and of course the sun. (But then we are told to cover up and slap on factor 50!!)
Fat is looked on as the killer in many diets. We are encouraged to eat low fat dairy and low fat spreads. Then we have saturated fats (bad??), polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats and trans fats (definitely bad) and lots of confusing and conflicting information about them all. I am not a scientist so will not start to explain the science of fats but give some idea of what I think and hopefully you can make up your own mind.
Why is it that consumption of all these ‘healthy’ low fat products goes up and up and at the same time so does heart disease and obesity and diseases associated with it. The low fat campaign coupled with the low cholesterol campaign surely means we should all be healthier yet heart disease and obesity continues to rise. Yet most elder people – my parents included (and me in my youth) were brought up on fat – butter, red meat, lard, eggs etc full of saturated fats and cholesterol.
So what is good fat? Fats or lipids are found mainly in meat and dairy products plus vegetable sources such as nuts and seeds, olives and avacado which contain essential fatty acids. All are natural sources.
Vegetable oils are another source of fat but there is a question about a lot of vegetable oils as the original source of the oil is affected by the processing into oil. Unsaturated fats are monounsaturated fats (olive oil) and polyunsaturated fats (sunflower oil, corn oil, vegetable oils.). These are processed and tend to be unstable and sensitive to oxygen, light and heat. When heated they have toxic compounds including trans fats.
For decades now we have been told that saturated fats are bad for us and butter and other animal fats lead lead to heart disease and so we should be eating low fat spreads and vegetable oils. Yet despite this heart disease continues to rise along with the sales of these products.
The production of these low fat products and oils is big business and big profits for big business so they continue to advertise the supposed benefits. Making vegetable oils and margarine spreads is chemical processing and processed foods should be avoided where possible. This applies to any diet not just my nutrition diet. There are plenty of other choices, e.g. butter and olive oil.
The latest ideas backed by new research is now advocating going back to the old fashioned diets including fats as processed oils and fats are considered damaging by some experts. Animal fats and butter contain essential vitamins and nutrients. Some dairy products are also the same, yoghurt, cheese, cream (but not low fat).
I would go along with this and do include butter etc in my diet. Everything in moderation though. Also it all very well saying it is ok to eat red meat, offal, saturated fats and dairy products like our ancestors but times have changed. Our ancestors did not have to worry about what was in the meat or milk etc. Now we have hormones, anti biotics and animals fed unnatural foods. Milk is pasteurised and processed with fat removed leaving a watery liquid.
Our ancestors lifestyles were also different. They did not have all the other processed foods in their diet and usually had more exercise even if it was only manual labour, gardening and walking more when going about their daily business.
I would definitely say change to using butter. It has been proven that margerines and spreads can be damaging to our health, and where possible use olive oil – the best you can afford. Meanwhile eat meat and fat if you want but in moderation and make sure you know where it comes from – organic if possible. At the same time exercise more. That goes for any diet including The Nutrition Diet. In my book The Nutrition Diet and Recipe Book available free at www.obooko.com (download free) I also stress that more exercise has to be part of any diet.