Bring on the good fats as part of your daily eating. This week the Australian Heart Foundation in conjunction with Unilever provided a little mainstream endorsement that goes some way to correcting the fat phobia / misinformation, but there is still a way to go.
The 2013 revision of the guidelines released by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) yesterday promoted good fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated instead of the previous encouragement of a low fat diet promoted in the 2003 guidelines.
Although good news (that’s a long time coming), this endorsement is missing a little something. Whilst they have acknowledged good fats, their definition of good fats remains dated.
In 2013 the NHMRC advises Australians to replace high fat foods which contain predominantly saturated fats such as butter, cream, coconut and palm oil with foods that contain predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
Past theories (note the emphasis on theories) suggesting dietary saturated fats were the main cause of inflammation, cholesterol, and cardiovascular issues are becoming unraveled and debunked. We know that butter and cream do not contain the unhealthy, damaging, inflammatory responses of long term use of trans fats fat in margarines and spreads. Among other benefits, coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride, meaning our bodies can use it for fuel immediately. We also know that the nutritional fat profile of grass fed beef is beginning to look more and more like that of wild caught fish.
And we know now that sugar is the leading cause of inflammation, illness, and many illness that we once thought fat was responsible for.
So, what does the science say about unsaturated fats- the ‘good’ fat? Nutritional experts encourage the use of cold pressed olive oil, sesame oil, nut oils, avocado and nuts and seeds. Why ? For the same reason we now encourage the use of butter, coconut oil, grass fed meat. Excellent for hormone balancing, skin, cellular health, body heat, and to dampen down carb cravings. Some saturated fats (coconut oil, butter and quality ghee) are excellent sources of fats/oils that can be heated and used for cooking without oxidation issues.
If you only take home one message from this article, make it this. Fats. Are. Good. Do not have fat phobia. I don’t believe in skim or low fat dairy, as they are usually higher in sugar and lower in satiation. Use full fat and have less. Simple.
And as for saturated man-made fats and trans-fats like margarine, and partially hydrogenated oils, ‘butter like spreads’, and oil blends with good marketing terminology on the outside of the packet? Chuck them in the bin.
Thrive on, Michele Chevalley Hedge, nutritionist A Healthy View pty. Ltd.