In the quest for weight loss, the public has brainwashed us with a big fat lie—that all fat is generally harmful (a fallacy that has consciously been elevated for several decades), the lie has even extended to cover all fat, not just a few harmful ones.
Many food companies in Nigeria made us believe that all fats are generally dietary killers, despite well-established scientific evidence that dietary fats differ greatly from one another biochemically. Severe marketing lies have cajoled us into eating any kind of food at all times, as long as it is not fat.
Many people assume that consuming fat will only lead to weight gain. Whereas all are just big fat lies that have persisted over the years and should be avoided.
Unfortunately, our health professionals like doctors, dieticians, and others who ought to know better appear to have forgotten that fat is a crucial nutrient for the health of our bodies and brains. These lies, in my opinion, have even significantly harmed our country’s overall well-being.
Extensive research has made us realize that not all fats are necessarily harmful. Understanding the concept and roles of dietary fats will greatly refine our beliefs and bias towards fats and build on making effective use of dietary fats.
In this article, we will explore the role of fats in weight management and provide insights on how you can make smart dietary choices to achieve a slimmer you: Fats are an essential macronutrient that plays crucial roles in our bodies.
They provide energy, support cell growth, protect organs, aid in nutrient absorption, and help produce important hormones. When it comes to weight management, it’s important to focus on the quality of fats rather than eliminating them.
Dietary fats can be classified as healthy or unhealthy based on their effects on health when consumed in various quantities.
Here’s a breakdown of the differentiation between healthy and unhealthy fats:
- Healthy Fats: are unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are generally considered healthy when consumed in moderation. Here are some healthy fats in Nigeria.
- Monounsaturated Fats (MUfAs): Monounsaturated fats are generally liquid at room temperature but may solidify when cold. They are found in foods such as olive oil, avocados, nuts (such as almonds, cashews, and peanuts), and seeds. Incorporating monounsaturated fats into the diet can have beneficial effects on heart health, as they can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (the “bad” cholesterol) cholesterol levels. MUFAs are known to promote satiety, helping you feel fuller for longer. These fats also assist in regulating blood sugar levels and reducing belly fat.
- Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs): Polyunsaturated fats are also liquid at room temperature and include two main types of essential fatty acids: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in vegetable oils (such as soybean, corn, and sunflower oils). Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids should be taken in the right proportions because they are both crucial for several biological processes. Omega-3s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can help improve insulin sensitivity, potentially aiding weight loss efforts.
- Healthy Cooking Oils: Opt for oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil for cooking. These oils are rich in monounsaturated fats and have a higher smoke point, making them suitable for high-heat cooking methods. You can find out the other healthiest cooking oils in Nigeria.
- Saturated Fats: Saturated fats are generally considered unhealthy when consumed in excess. These fats can raise low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease and other health issues. Sources of saturated fats include Fatty cuts of meat, poultry with skin, high-fat dairy products, butter, ghee, lard, and tropical oils like coconut oil and palm oil.
- Trans Fats: Trans fats are widely considered the most unhealthy type of fat. They are created through a process called hydrogenation, which makes them solid at room temperature and increases their shelf life. Trans fats raise low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels while lowering high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol), thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Sources of trans fats include Partially hydrogenated oils found in many processed and fried foods, such as baked goods, snacks, and fried fast foods.
Unhealthy fats (trans fats and saturated fats) have been recorded to be the cause of high diabetes risk(type 2 Diabetes), cardiovascular disease —e.g., heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks— and other chronic inflammatory diseases in Nigeria and other African countries.
Unfortunately, we have been exposed to erroneous and misleading dietary advice in the country that has grouped all fats from healthy to dangerous unhealthy fats.
However, rather than blaming all fats for our weight gain, we need to look more carefully at the types of fats we have been consuming and consequently agree to stop eating those.
Therefore, to achieve a slimmer you and good overall health, it is recommended to limit the consumption of unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats. Instead, focus on and embrace incorporating healthy fats, particularly unsaturated fats, into your diet.
This can be achieved by choosing lean sources of protein, opting for plant-based oils, and consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids while minimizing processed foods high in unhealthy fats. It’s important to maintain a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients while considering individual dietary needs and goals.
- Jomol, Make up and beauty, how eating fats can make you thin; November 2020
- Natalie Stein, Larkhealth, how fat will make you skinny; July 2019
I’m Abdulrahmon Moradeyo, a second-year Medical student from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. I’m a certified writer with a deep passion for health. I address major health problems through the power of my written word. With a deep-rooted commitment to improving the well-being of individuals and communities, I strive to provide valuable insights and practical solutions through my writing.
Composed by: ABDULRAHMON MORADEYO
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