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Why you need fats in your diet and what is healthy
Why you need fats in your diet and what is healthy

Healthy and unhealthy fats

Shivani avatar
Written by Shivani
Updated over a week ago

In this article:

  • Why your body needs some fats

  • Are all fats created equal?

  • The simple solution!

Why your body needs some fats

Much like proteins, vitamins and minerals, fats are also nutrients that your body requires.  

No, fat is not your enemy and in fact, it is important to include a modest amount of fats in your diet.  

Why?  The main reasons include the following:

  • Fats give you energy and also help control your weight by making you feel more satisfied and reducing hunger

  • Fats help your body absorb other nutrients better

  • Many of our body tissues and cell membranes are lipid (fat) based

  • Fats help protect your heart and are critical for brain health

The word ‘fat’ itself is unhelpful as it signifies the fat content in food as well as body fat. The truth is that your body will store all excess food intake as fat, whether it comes from rice, snacks, fat or protein.

Are all fats created equal?

No.  There are different types of fats, and you may have often heard the terms "good" or "healthy" fats, and "bad" or "unhealthy" fats, but this is an oversimplification.  

In reality, health is determined by the balance of fatty acids in the body and in fact, most natural dietary sources of fats comprise a combination of the supposed "good" fats and "bad" fats, i.e. a combination of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fatty acids.  For example, eggs contain all these types of fats in various proportions.  

Suffice to say, fats traditionally considered to be unhealthy eg saturated fats, are fine to be consumed in moderate quantities, as long as your intake of refined carbohydrates is low and a healthy amount of unsaturated fats is also consumed.  

Foods such as meat, dairy, palm oil and coconut oil are high in saturated fats and also contain medium chain fats which are important for your health.  So while excessive quantities of such foods are not advisable, they are good for you in moderation, as long as you also have a healthy mix of plant-based and whole foods in your diet. 

So, if saturated fats are not necessarily unhealthy, what are the truly "bad" fats?

The fats created in the industrial processing of natural foods:

  • trans-fats that are present in processed foods;

  • hydrogenated fats such as margarine;

  • cooking oils that are made to be shelf-stable (eg. safflower oil, corn oil, refined oil, vanaspathi/dalda, soybean oil etc).

It is in fact the combination of high amounts of saturated and unhealthy fats combined with high intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar, that is literally the 'killer' combination!

So what’s the solution?

Simple -

When you eat the D9 way, your diet is based on natural, unprocessed, whole foods; so accumulating high amounts of harmful fats would be nearly impossible. A healthy, well-balanced diet with minimal processed foods will naturally help you balance the right balance of fatty acids that your body requires.

Also see the article on 'Picking the right sources of fat'.

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