Thursday, 19 July 2018

The truth is that your body needs fat to function

FAT is the enemy — right? Wrong! This constant argument about fat is exhausting, so let’s get to the point

FAT is the enemy — right? Wrong! This constant argument about fat is exhausting, so let’s get to the point of why your body needs it.

Fat serves a vital role in your immune system, protects the brain and liver, and promotes skin, hair, and nail health. Your hormones can’t function properly without it and eating it leaves us feeling satisfied and happy. People who avoid fat are generally stressed about the effect it would have on their bodies. This leaves them feeling hungry, a bit depressed and more likely to binge on sugar or high-carbohydrate foods resulting in being prone to illness and weight-gain.

However, the source of your fat is very important — and again we come up against a few common myths. If you think you are going to get ‘good cholesterol’ up by eating more low-fat spreads and avoid cancer by avoiding red meat, then think again. Get your sources from grass-fed, pasture-risen animals: chickens that eat grubs, worms and seeds, and fish without the plastic carton around it. These foods contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids which, in general, we in the Western world do not eat enough of.

Omega (or essential fatty acids) act as transporters for your cells and affect mood, inflammation, and cell behaviour. Omega 3 is found in foods such as fish and shellfish and pasture-fed meat. Omega 6 is found in grains, and grain oils. Research scientists have found that our human predecessors ate more or less a one to one ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3, whereas our modern diets, rich in cereals, grains, grain oils, grain-fed animals and “modern” processed foods such as margarine has bumped the ratio up to 20:1.

Scientists now believe having too many Omega 6s in your diet can cause various problems — obesity, decrease in sexual performance, heart disease and even some forms of cancer, to name a few. Good fats from grass-fed animals help us to digest protein more efficiently and absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. So don’t be afraid of eating that chicken skin or the marble of fat in a good cut of red meat.

When we eat fat our body does not produce the hormone insulin. On the other hand, when we eat too many carbohydrates and sugars insulin is produced, and when too much of it is released it exhausts the pancreas and allows fat into the cells.

We are very fortunate to have great options for buying good quality food in our community. The butchers of the area carefully select the best meat, and are very knowledgeable about how the animals have been raised. The cost, taste and health benefits of well-sourced meat and fish trump anything that’s been mass-produced or factory farmed.

• Richard Hawkins is a personal trainer at Expert Fitness Studio on Bell Street. Contact (01491) 413416 or visit www.expertfitness studio.com

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