Get your fats straight: learn more about types of fats

What’s the deal with fats these days? One minute you are told to eat less, the next to change types of fats- what should you actually be doing?

Lets start from the beginning ….The truth is that we do need some fats in our diet. They play an important role in absorbing vitamins, structuring our cells and providing energy. Did you know that some types of fats are also pretty good at protecting our heart.

So why are we told to reduce the amount of fats we eat?

Of all the nutrients, fat contains the most energy. All types of fat contain 9kcal per gram, compared to 4kcals per gram for protein and carbohydrate. Which means that eating just a small amount can provide a large amount of energy- this could be a problem if you are trying to keep your weight down!

So portion control is important when it comes to eating fats- even healthy fats.

There are 4 main types of fats:

good fats    Monounsaturated fats

Found in olive oil, olive spreads, cannola oil, canola spreads, most nuts and avocados.

These are what we call ‘good fats.’ They help to lower our bad cholesterol and improve our good cholesterol. So in other words they can look after your heart.

Look out for the hawker stalls using these oils and choose these types of oils in small amounts for your home cooking. 

polyfats    Polyunsaturated fats

There are 2 types of polyunsaturated fats.

Omega 3– Found mainly in oily fish, but also in tofu, some nuts and fortified foods such as eggs and milk. Omega 3 fats are good for our heart. They keep our arteries healthy and prevent our blood from getting sticky. Aim to include 1-2 servings of fish a week.

Omega 6- Found in soybean oil, sunflower oil, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds to name a few. They can help to lower your bad cholesterol, which in turn helps to protect your heart

Saturated and trans fats

Ok so here come the ‘bad fats’. These types of fat stick to our artery walls, which can cause narrowing and blockages over time. This can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Saturated– Found in fats on meat, skin on poultry, butter, ghee, full fat milk, cheese, palm oil, vegetable oil, coconut milk

.chicken               laksa                     palm oil

Trans fats–  Found in cakes, cookies, pastries, chips, fries, processed foods and deep fried foods.

DOUGHNUT      croissant   fries


Cut down on these fats by:

Ask for less palm oil, vegetable oil, butter, ghee, lard in dishes.

Ask for no skin or fats on meats.

Replace meat with tofu, beans or lentils sometimes.

Cut down on cakes, pastries, chips, chocolates and biscuits.

Choose low fat dairy foods.

Limit deep fried foods to less than twice a week.

Choose foods with the healthier choice logo.


So there you have it, when it comes to fats, the key is to choose great types of fat and watch your portion size!


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