Is Fat Good or Bad for Us?

me&my health up podcast episode #62 – Transcript

Anthony Hartcher 0:00
Welcome to another insightful episode of Me&My Health Up, Ask your nutritionist series. It’s Anthony Hartcher, your host today, and I’m a clinical nutritionist and lifestyle medicines specialist.

I’m going to be talking about fats. So we often hear fats in the context of bad, okay, so I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna label fats, I’m not gonna label it as good or bad, but before I get into it, I’m gonna say this advice is general in nature, and you need to consult a health practitioner, if you have specific concerns, or want further advice in relation to your personal situation.

So let’s talk about fats, are they good or bad, then neither, okay, we need them? Fats are essential, they have been crucified in the media, certainly in the 70s, the 1970s, they were seen as the evil guy, and hence all the food manufacturing companies cut fat, and that’s why we saw a lot of no fat, 98% fat free, 96% fat free, and what did these food companies replace it with? They replaced it with sugar, and so now the attention is on sugar, hence why you’ll see sugar free.

So it’s just flipping from one side to the other, and looking for the victim or the enemy, and the enemy doesn’t, isn’t there, right? We need carbohydrates, which break down to sugar, we need fats, we need protein, it is just finding the right balance for you, your health goals, and your personal situation.

So let’s focus on the fats. Okay, so there are many types of fats. Let’s talk about what the body needs fat for? The body needs fat for many reasons, it needs it for insulation, to protect us to keep us warm. We need fat, for stored energy for those times when we may be without food, which is unlikely in today’s world, but we certainly need more for insulation to keep us warm in cold times, and obviously, we need a certain amount of it and not an excessive amount, and that’s what we’re concerned about is the excessive amount of fat.

It is also used to help the nervous system. So we make the myelin sheath from fat, and the myelin sheath helps nerve conduction, okay, so your responsiveness is going to be you know, it’s supported by fat and then your cells your cell membrane is part of it is made up of fats. So we need fats for our cell membranes were made up of cells, we need fats for nutritional purposes, such as vitamin D, such as vitamin K, which you would have heard of vitamin A, vitamin E, yes, they’re all fats. We also need fats for our hormones. So you would have heard of estrogen and testosterone as some of the hormones and there’s cortisol is a hormone, right? These are all derived from fat.

Our brain is made up of main fats. Okay, so I think I’ve probably convinced you that fats are an important part of us our structure our makeup, right? And so we do need to have dietary sources of fat. The question is, what type of fat do I need predominantly? and what which one do I focus on? So the fats are there saturated fat? There’s polyunsaturated fat, there’s monounsaturated fat, is what you generally hear in terms of marketing terms.

Okay, so our body doesn’t need saturated fat, it can make up what it needs from saturated fats from fats. So we don’t need heaps of dietary saturated fat and hence, saturated fats. Probably, you know, they’re well they’re found in just about anything any further with fats, but we don’t need to have excessive amounts of and hence why we don’t want a diet that is really high in fat, such as the keto diet, for example, which is excessive fat.

So from saturated fat, our liver will break that down, to collect to make cholesterols yes, we need cholesterol. We need cholesterol to make hormones we need cholesterol for the cell membrane. So we do need cholesterol. We need cholesterol to repair cells.

Excessive amounts of cholesterol we don’t need and we don’t want. We need cholesterol to make bowls, bile salts, which help absorb fats. So we don’t want it too many saturated fats in our diet, such as the keto diet, because we’re going to make life amounts of cholesterol, which our body won’t know what to do with it and will deposit in arteries and things like that where we don’t want it building up, because that’s not good for our heart health. So we certainly don’t want to go to the extreme of having a sort of a ketone diet, and again, I’m talking generally nature ketone diet can support certain people, but that needs to be under clinical supervision.

So don’t go to the extreme of just having a fat diet because yes, your blood lipids or your blood fats will increase and the doctor will say, you know, there’s a concern there you know, you might behave too much LDL cholesterol, or too much total cholesterol, too many triglycerides in your blood, and too much of anything, it’s not great for us. So, what we want to do is focus on the fats that our body can’t manufacture, okay, all that needs to come from the diet, and these fats are the polyunsaturated fats.

So the polyunsaturated fats and the monounsaturated fats, the polyunsaturated fats, are your omega threes, your omega sixes, and your sis fats but so omega threes will we generally get them from processed foods, so you’ll get them from your, your bread, they’ll come from bread, also, we find them in animal products, we’ll have, so your eggs, you’re What else, there’s so your meats, for example, your you know, your chicken, your beef and those sort of things, animal products, and then you’ll get your really your Omega threes, which is probably where we want to focus because the Omega sixes generally we do find in processed foods and in animal products, and we’re consuming enough of them.

What I do see in the clinic is generally my clients aren’t eating enough of omega threes, so we got to get these omega-three omega-six ratios balanced, and so the focus should be on increasing your omega threes such as your oily fishes such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, but generally, tuna is not really high. It’s more your Mac, your sardines, your anchovies, your mackerel and your salmon have higher omega-three content. Also, your nuts and seeds such as flax seeds and walnuts also contain polyunsaturated fats, chia seeds, seeds, and nuts, in general, will have it after varying degrees. So walnuts out, it’s obvious to a higher degree.

So that’s where you want to focus in terms of your fat consumption, and again, it’s not overdoing it, it’s part of your diet, you know, that’s should make up somewhere between 10 and 20% of your dietary consumption of calories. Generally speaking, so yeah, I wouldn’t, you know, have a huge focus on it other than just make sure it’s in your diet, make sure you are having meat free nights so animal I guess the more land meat free nights and have more you know, fish nights have more Flexi seeds and walnuts as snacks, nibblies, trial mixers, or you can have it on your porridge that would be really helpful is just focus on these more polyunsaturated fats, your monounsaturated fats or your olive oils, avocado, coconut oil.

Again, you know, it’s not having like a teaspoon of coconut oil, like the Keto sort of, you know, with a sort of indoors sort of extreme behavior. It’s you know, just cooking with a bit of coconut oil or cooking with a bit of olive oil, it’s not having excessive amounts of it such as just teaspoons in the mouth, you know that that that is quite extreme, so certainly, in some summering, summarizing this, I would really focus on the fats that the body can’t make and that’s your polyunsaturated fats from a dietary perspective, and I mentioned what they were and the saturated fats, where you’ll find you know, that they’re going to be combined with other fats, but they’re generally going to come from your fatty meats.

They’ll come from eggs, for example, dairy, processed foods, what you want to avoid is the hydrolyzed fat hydrolysate sized fats such as your fats that are solid at room temperature, and they do that for you know, for storage and preserving reasons and this year trans fats that end up no good for your body. They’re bad or if I don’t want to label them, you certainly don’t want to be having too much and that comes in processed foods. So that’s cookies you know, biscuits cakes; It’s your deep-fried chips; It’s your doughnuts that anything you know that’s really fried so that that’s what you want to be having certainly less off and a really small, you know, barely registers.

So I hope this was helpful in terms of answering the questions about fats, and then this and necessity and make sure you consume them in moderation focus on the polyunsaturated fats.

So that’s our concluding and wrapping up this nutritionist on fat so I hope you enjoyed it and please, please give me questions I have around nutrition, I’m happy to answer them in future episodes, and stay tuned for more insightful episodes of Me & My Health Up.

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