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Fat is not just fat!

Fat makes you fat and sick, so shouldn’t you cut it out of your diet? Well no, things aren’t that bad. But there is a difference between good and bad fats, and – as with almost everything – quality is key.

Together with carbohydrate and protein, fat is one of the three basic nutrients. It plays various important functions in the body – as a shock absorber, as protection against cold, and as an energy reserve. Fats can be of vegetable or animal origin, and are found in peanuts, flaxseeds, milk, meat and fish. The composition of fats is important for a healthy diet.

Unsaturated fatty acids are considered healthy fats. They maintain and build the body’s cells, and provide you with nutrients that your body can’t produce by itself. You’ll find unsaturated fatty acids in fish such as perch or pollock. Other sources are rapeseed oil, soya oil and olive oil.

Saturated fatty acids are less important, so can be bad for you in large quantities. Unlike unsaturated fatty acids, the body can produce these itself. You also find them in pure fats like butter and lard as well as in milk, steak and chicken. Saturated fatty acids are also found in many processed foods, and are the result of oils being heated for too long and hardening. Excess energy from fatty acids that the body doesn’t need gets stored in fatty tissue. So if you consume more energy than you need for long periods of time, the fat store grows. And this is what you’ll see on your stomach,
hips and bottom.

Nutritionists recommend that we eat 60 to 80 grams of fat per day. The large proportion should be unsaturated fatty acids, with up to 16 grams of saturated fatty acids for women and 19 grams for men per day.

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