I thought I would offer a completely different look at fat and how it affects how we look at our bodies. Are you one of the millions who ‘hates’ her lumps & bumps or is always trying to lose weight?? Have you ever actually thought about WHY we have fat and why we do actually need fat?
My aim is to try to make you understand a bit more about the fat we eat and the fat on our bodies and how not ALL fat is bad for us. So please have a read and lets see if I can change how you feel about your body – even just a tiny bit!! This is particularly relevant if you are menopausal or if you are someone who always opts for low fat foods.
I do want to emphasise though, fat is still dense and is still to be eaten in moderation, even the ‘healthier’ fats. There is fat called visceral fat – wraps around your organs, especially around your middle which can’t be seen & is unhealthy fat. Please read about it below. we will start with the positives though, why we do need fat.
Different types of fat on our body
- Did you know that not all fat is bad? STRUCTURAL FAT plays a crucial role in maintaining our vitality and overall health. It surrounds and protects our organs, providing cushioning and support. During menopause, our bodies undergo various hormonal changes, and ensuring the presence of healthy structural fat becomes more important than ever. Embrace it as your body’s natural guardian, valuable in your well-being. Eating nuts, seeds, sardines & mackerel, avocado – all offer these healthier fats.
Normal Reserve Fat:
NORMAL RESERVE FAT serves as an energy bank, providing fuel to power you through your daily activities. It’s essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism, supporting hormone production, and regulating body temperature. However, during menopause, hormonal fluctuations can influence how your body stores and utilises this reserve fat. Understanding its role can help you strike a balance and maintain a healthy weight. 30% of your oestrogen comes from fat?
- You can see that structural and normal reserve fats are essential for our body, health & energy. Remember that – when you are eating ‘low fat’ food options. It is better for your health to eat the full fat options – like full fat yoghurt, natural butter over synthetic margarines (both in moderation) & opting for the more calorific but natural snack like nuts over a low fat, high sugar alternative!
Abnormal Reserve Fat:
- ABNORMAL RESERVE FAT. It’s the stubborn fat that tends to accumulate around your waistline, hips, and thighs. During menopause, hormonal imbalances can make shedding this fat challenging. Read about the nutritional aspects of fats below. Also, remember – stress can cause the body to hold onto fat – just in case of an emergency. So it is as much about looking at the whole picture and looking at your stress levels.
- TRANSFATS – these are the highly processed fats. Certain foods seem to encourage belly fat. One of them is trans fats, which are found in meats and dairy as well as in deep-fried or processed foods. Also bad are sweet drinks, sweets , chocolate & cakes, processed baked goods, and other foods sweetened with fructose. So read the labels and avoid ingredients like “partially hydrogenated oils” or “high-fructose corn syrup.”
- VISCERAL FATS – this is the fat that can’t necessarily be seen. This is the fat that wraps around your abdominal organs, not under your skin like subcutaneous fat. You may have a flat tummy & still have visceral fat. This can effect your heart – heart disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes etc. If you eat a lot of red meat, chocolate, biscuits, sweets, cakes & processed foods try swapping them for more nuts, fish & the healthier foods.
Fats we Eat
Lets have a look at the fats we eat.
Saturated Fats can be ok Fats, but in moderation
We are constantly told to choose the unsaturated fats or look at how much unsaturated fats there is in foods. However, we do need some saturated fat in our diet. I do say ‘some’ – as with everything, in moderation. If we were truly to avoid all saturated fat then we’d all have to become vegans as most saturated fat comes from animal produce.
Saturated fats help your hormones
Saturated fats are the carrier for the fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E & K
Saturated fat supports & develops your brain
Saturated fat converts carotene to Vitamin A
Saturated fat is the preferred fuel for the heart
In fact all naturally sourced fats are essential as we need different fats to perform different functions in our bodies. For anyone pregnant, Omega 3 and Omega 6 reduce the risk of low birth weight and premature birth, plus act as anti-inflammatories and help build the brain and connective tissue.
Manufactured and processed fats such as vegetable oil, margarine and the processed rubbish used to bulk out ready meals, sweets , and biscuits unfortunately ARE bad fat – trans fats. But this is mainly because of the manufacturing process.
Any food that has been chemically altered by manufacturing is considered a toxin by your body and all of these un-natural foods can cause disease and disruption to your body’s biochemistry if eaten in excess.
So, for a healthy diet I do believe in the 80:20 principle. Try to eat wholesome, natural nutritionally supportive foods like a wide variety of animal proteins, fish, fruits, vegetables and whole grains in balanced quantities, including fat, this will help your body stay healthy and strong!
Don’t stress about it, but do recognise if you do eat a lot of chips, crisps, biscuits & generally quite processed foods. Look at trying to reduce some of these foods a little at a time. Try to eat them less frequently and if need be get some help from a nutritionist. I do know it is not easy, but for your health start looking at tasty alternative healthy options.