London: There is this common perception that eating fat is bad for health and waistline, but very few know that healthy fats are essential for good health.
Leading health and nutrition experts have come together to dispel the common myths around fat in our diet, revealing that a “fear of fat” and modern eating habits are resulting in too little “good” fat, such as Omega-3, being consumed.
This lack of understanding about “good” fats and our increasing reliance on convenience foods, which often contain trans fats, may be putting our heart health at risk, reports femalefirst.co.uk.
“The word ‘fat’ carries many negative connotations and as such, this nutrient continues to be one of the most demonised food groups,” said nutritionist Christine Bailey.
“In reality, fats are incredibly important to our overall health and we should focus on achieving the right balance in our diets, embracing sources of ‘good’ fat such as omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are proven to support heart health,” added Bailey.
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids which must be obtained through the diet as the body can’t efficiently produce them independently. Guidelines recommend that a healthy diet should include at least two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish. However, latest studies show many of us are not eating enough. Hence, we may not be getting the levels of Omega-3s that our body requires.
“The key is focusing on making simple, positive changes, such as including oily fish like mackerel or salmon in your diet, or experimenting with flaxseed oil in cooking as opposed to using oils high in saturated fat,” said Bailey.
Just as modern eating habits have altered, the way we consume information and make health decisions has also changed due to the huge volume of information available at our fingertips.
“Today’s consumers are better informed but not better educated. All too often, people absorb information they see without truly understanding it and it is this lack of understanding, which also applies to the issue of fat consumption that we need to address,” said an expert Roger Henderson.
It is also said that including too much saturated or “bad” fats in diets can increase health risk, while incorporating sources of unsaturated “good” fats in our diets, such as omega-3, can help support heart health.