6 reasons why essential fats are an important part of your diet

Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter

One of the main macronutrients that can help determine your overall health is the balance of fatty acids consumed in your diet. So many people in today’s world fear away from eating fats because the name is associated with the unhealthy “trans” fats. Unhealthy trans fats are found in margarines, fried food and processed foods, they are not to be confused with the health promoting fats that most people leave out from their diet. These healthy fats are called Linoleic acid (LA), Gamma linolenic acid (GLA), arachidonic acid (AA), alpha linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

To help you understand the benefits that healthy essential fats can bring, let’s look at some of their major roles:

  • Fats provide us with an energy source
  • It helps manufacture and balance our hormones
  • It forms our cell membranes
  • It is critical for the transmission of nerve signals that create muscle contractions
  • It helps transport the fat soluble vitamins A,D,E, and K
  • ​It provides two essential fatty acids that the body cannot make, these are linoleic acid(an omega 6 fatty acid) and linolenic (an omega 3 fatty acid)

​When our clients follow our fat loss programme, for a short period we make sure they consume a higher ratio of omega 3 rich fats. These come from foods such as oily fish, ground flaxseeds and fish oil supplements. Using higher levels of omega 3 fats help balance out the high levels of omega 6 rich foods that people nowadays consume, omega 3 also lowers levels of inflammation.

meal plan ebook

Another reason that omega 3 fats (ALA,DHA,EPA) are so important is that they help keep your cells more fluid. If the cell membranes are more fluid, it increases insulin sensitivity and ultimately fat loss greatly improves.

So what type of foods are we talking about when we hear the words healthy fats, and how much should we consume daily? Here at M10 we encourage our clients to eat at least 30% of their dietary calories from healthy fats. To get that into perspective for you, a 1500 calorie meal plan would require that 450 calories come from fat. To break that down into grams of fat, it would be 50 grams per day. Now spread your meals over 5 feedings and you only need to consume 10 grams of healthy fats per meal.

Here’s a table to help you understand the types of fats and the categories they fit into.

 

Monounsaturated

Polyunsaturated

Saturated

Trans Fat

Olive, Canola and peanut oil

Herring

Meat

Margarine

Nuts

Mackerel

Poultry

Cookies

Avocados

Salmon

Butter

Pastries

 

Sardines

Cheese

Fried foods

 

Walnuts

Cream

 

 

Sunflower oil

Coconut oil

 

 

Nuts and seeds

 

 

10% of your fat calories

10% of your fat calories

10% of your fat calories

This should be low in the diet

A great example of adding healthy fats to a meal would be by adding pine nuts to a prawn salad, avocado to a chicken salad with an olive oil dressing or by adding a small handful of walnuts to a turkey stir fry made with spinach and kale.

Hopefully by now you have learnt about the importance of adding healthy fats to your diet and you will think about this important macronutrient the next time you make a healthy meal.

If you'd like to know how we help our clients at M10 lose fat, pick up a copy of th
e M10 Blueprint today.

M10 blueprint
 

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