The skinny on fats

We all need them in our diet, so here’s how to in­clude the healthy kind in your daily meals

YOU (South Africa) - - YOU LIFESTYLE - BY CARMEN NIEHAUS PICTURES: JACQUES STANDER

IT KEEPS you feel­ing full for longer, is an im­por­tant en­ergy source, helps your body to ab­sorb vi­tal vi­ta­mins and min­er­als from your food and plays a role in hor­mone bal­ance.

We also know that not all fat is cre­ated equal. Here’s how to tell the good from the bad, plus a se­lec­tion of recipes that of­fers de­li­cious ways to eat the right kinds.

THE LOWDOWN

Sat­u­rated fat is the so­called white fat found in red meat and un­der chicken skin. Don’t eat too much of this type. The ex­cep­tion here is co­conut oil – al­though it’s a sat­u­rated fat, its unique molec­u­lar struc­ture helps burn body fat and lower choles­terol.

Un­sat­u­rated fats are ei­ther mo­noun­sat­u­rated or polyun­sat­u­rated. They’re mostly good fats be­cause they con­tain omega-3 fatty acids, which help con­trol hunger pangs. Foods con­tain­ing un­sat­u­rated fats in­clude avos, nuts, seeds, olive oil and oily fish such as pilchards, sar­dines, snoek, mack­erel, trout and salmon. Nuts have been linked to re­duc­ing the risk of heart dis­ease and they help to lower choles­terol. They’re also pro­tein-rich.

Trans fats are the su­pervil­lains and should be avoided. They’re mostly ar­ti­fi­cially pro­duced and are solid at room tem­per­a­ture. Trans fats are found mostly in pro­cessed and fast food. They’re also in mar­garine and mass-pro­duced items such as cakes and chips. Check the in­gre­di­ents where they’ll be listed as hy­dro­genated fat or short­en­ing.

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