Is there a topic that’s more confusing when trying to lose weight or even just trying to eat better? Fats are often ‘demonised’ and with seemingly good cause - given the rising rates in obesity and heart diseases - leaving most to wonder if the solution to all our weight and health problems is simply to stop eating fat!

Well, love them or hate them fats are actually an important part of a healthy lifestyle and should make up part of your diet even if your goal is to lose weight. It’s recommended that we get 20%-35% of our total daily calories from fats. Seems counterintuitive right? The reality is fat’s don’t make us fat, excess calories are what make us fat! Whether they're from proteins, carbs, fats or alcohol. It’s therefore not about eating NO fat but about eating the right kinds of fat.

1. Unsaturated fats aka 'The good guys'- Main sources include olive oil, olives, avocado, seeds, nuts, nut butters and fatty fish like salmon. When eaten in moderation or when used to replace saturated and trans fats, they can help lower 'bad cholesterol' which makes for a healthier heart. Some like Omega-3 fatty acids- the kind you get from fatty fish - are essential fats, meaning they're required for normal body functions but our body can't make them so we need to get them from food.

2. Saturated fats aka 'The misunderstood guys'- Main sources include animal products like beef, poultry skin, full-fat dairy, eggs and vegetable fats that are liquid at room temperature such as coconut oil. A diet high in saturated fat can raise your total cholesterol which includes ‘bad cholesterol'. You can however still fit animal products into a heart healthy diet by choosing lean cuts, low-fat dairy options (or full-fat dairy in moderation), sometimes opting for egg whites and leaving the skin off your chicken. Also, although coconut oil is recommended as one of the healthiest oils to have in your pantry it remains high in saturated fats therefore should be consumed in moderation as well.

Look out for the next post on trans fats aka 'The bad guys'

Eat better. Live better.