Fats are one of the main three macronutrients along with protein and carbohydrates. The NHS recommends less than 70g of fat per day. This equates to around 30% of an average person’s calorie intake is fat (for a 2,000 calorie diet). Dietary fats are the most energy dense macronutrients providing 9 calories for every gram of fat consumed (Willett, 1998).
The overconsumption of fats can be quite easy, as fats provide more flavour to food. So, it can be easy to used more than needed (for example, butter on bread or the fats in processed chocolates or cakes). In addition, our westernised diet has also shifted towards more processed foods compared to 20 or 30 years ago, which are higher in fats. Overconsumption of fat can lead to many series health problems – from obesity, diabetes, heart disease or even cancer to less serious symptoms such as lethargy or oily skin (Mann and Truswell 2012).
There are multiple types of fats in our diets, with some being worse than others:
- Monounsaturated Fats (e.g omega 9 fatty acids) – found in plant based oils and fatty plant based foods like avocado. They are generally perceived as being healthy.
- Polyunsaturated fats (e.g. omega 6 and 3) – found in vegetable and marine products and considered to be very healthy, as some of these are essential fatty acids. They also have cholesterol lowering properties.
- Saturated Fats – mostly found in animal based products and considered not to be healthy, due to their cholesterol rising properties. However, there are conflicting opinions on this.
- Trans Fats – are from hydrogenated oils, baked goods and processed foods. These are the worst for your health, as they are mostly man made.
To decrease the daily fat intake a person can look to reduce the saturated fats and trans fats from their diet as well as overall consumption of fats. However, one must remember that some fats are good (as I mentioned above). For instance, a good example of this is nuts. These are high in monounsaturated fats, which are good fats, and they’re also really high in other nutrients. One study found that almonds as part of a low calorie diet aided weight loss and lowered blood pressure in overweight or obese people (Dhillon, Tan and Mattes, 2016).
If you’re looking to improve your diet or concern about weight gain, then drop me an email or give me a call on 07957511441.
Dhillon, J., Tan, S. and Mattes, R., 2016. Almond Consumption during Energy Restriction Lowers Truncal Fat and Blood Pressure in Compliant Overweight or Obese Adults. The Journal of Nutrition, 146(12), pp.2513-2519.
Mann, J. and Truswell, S., 2012. Essentials Of Human Nutrition. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Willett, W., 1998. Is dietary fat a major determinant of body fat?. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(3), pp.556S-562S.