What is Fat?
Fat is often associated with greasy burgers, pizzas and chips. But it is actually a vital nutrient that has important functions within the body.
What does Fat do within the body?
The main function of fat is to provide energy, fats save proteins from being used for energy and allow them to do their job at building and repairing tissues.
Fat can also be stored in the body for later use.
When we eat food which has more energy than is required, it is deposited under the skin in the form of fat.
Fat can also help in the forming of structural material of cells and tissues.
Fat carries the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K into the body and helps with the absorption of these vitamins in the intestines.
Some fats also supply essential fatty acids to the body.
How many Calories does fat contain?
Fat contains 9 calories per gram, whereas carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram, so it is more than twice as energy dense. If you are looking to lose weight then fatty foods should be kept to a minimum.
What type of fats should we be eating?
There a two main types of fat Saturated fat AKA “bad” fats and unsaturated fats AKA “good” fats.
Saturated fats (bad) are generally found in animal products and are deemed unhealthy as they raise the bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body.
Food that contains “bad” fats include: Butter, ghee, suet, lard, coconut oil (not enough scientific evidence for me to say this is a good fat!), cakes, biscuits, fatty meats, sausages, bacon, cured meats, cheese, pastries, coconut milk, chocolate, cream, ice cream and milkshakes.
Unsaturated fats (good) are found mostly in plants and fish products and are seen as healthy as they tend to lower the bad cholesterols (LDL) and raise the good cholesterol (HDL).
Food that contains “good” fats include: olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocados, almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts, mackeral, kippers, trout, salmon, sardines, tuna and natural nut butters.
What happens if we eat too much fat?
If we eat too much fat, especially saturated fats, cholesterol levels rise, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease.
How much should we be eating?
Along with a good, healthy balanced diet, you should try to include around 2-3 portions of “good” fats per week, for example a portion would be: Half an avocado, handful of natural nuts, 1tbsp nut butter or 120g of oily fish.
Although these are all good fats, they are still a fat.
Healthy fats still contain calories
Peanut butter is a great fat, I could literally eat this straight out the jar!
But it is so easy to over do it, for example 1tbsp peanut butter is around 100 calories. You have peanut butter on 2 slices of toast for breakfast and you are looking at around 2.5tbsp so 250 calories of peanut butter and around 200 calories for the toast, so your “Healthier” breakfast is not far off on 500 calories.
So do eat the good fats but if weight loss is your goal then ensure they are in moderation.
Peanut Butter Blondie Recipe
If you want to try a yummy Peanut Butter Blondie recipe that uses Peanut butter, then try this: https://itsnutrition.co.uk/recipes/peanut-butter-blondies/