Understanding Fats – the basics

The last in this series of three (the other two being 1:Understanding Protein and 2: Understanding Carbs) and it’s time to get to grips with fat.

Fat is essential to our diet. We need to consume some fat as it contain important nutrients and essential fatty acids. Vitamins A, D, E are fat soluble, which means they can only be absorbed with the help of fat.

As with carbohydrates, fat has a lower TEF (Thermic Effect of Food) than Protein. In fact, carbs and fat have the same TEF. This means you will burn between 5 to 15% of the calories of the fat from the digestion process.
Therefore you consume 200 calories of pure fat, around 10 to 30 calories will be burned by digestion.

Fat is the most calorie dense of the three macronutrients but as stated above it is needed and is not the enemy.

If fat loss is your goal, you will need to understand that fat comes at a high calorie cost. Calorie deficit is the key to fat loss so limiting your fat intake and making smart choices will be necessary.

There are two main types of fat; Saturated and Unsaturated.
*Ideally no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake should come from saturated fat.

Saturated Fats are found in both sweet and savoury foods and are mainly found in animal products (meat and dairy) although there are exceptions such as coconut oil.

Examples of saturated fat include:
Fatty cuts of meat
Meat pies
Butter, Lard and Ghee
Cream and Ice Cream
Biscuits, Cakes and Pastries
Chocolate Bars

Unsaturated Fat is mostly found in oils from plants and fish.

To reduce your risk of heart disease and maintain healthy levels of cholesterol it would be wise to reduce your overall fat intake and try to ensure you consume mostly unsaturated fat.

Examples of unsaturated fat include:
Olive oil and spreads made from olive oil
Rapeseed oil
Some nuts i.e. Brazil, Almond, Peanut
Sunflower seeds
Oily Fish i.e. Herring, Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel

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