It is everywhere around us, everybody is talking about fat and saturated fat, but what is it? Is it really bad for health? Why should we fight saturated fat? It is a lot of question to answer and I will try to give you the best overview on the subject.
Why fat is vital
Fat is important to stay healthy. Actually, how many times do you have heard some people worried about someone as he looks to skinny. Fat by itself is not bad. We need fat for several reasons. First, fat is providing insulation, thermo regulation of your body. Secondly, fat protect your organs, as bones they are making a protection against injury. Thirdly, fat is a source of energy, the two main source of energy in the body are fat and carbs. Fat is also important to have an healthy body as some vitamins are fat soluble. Fat soluble vitamins can only be stored in the body in fat. In consequence: no fat, no vitamins. And last but not least, fat is reducing the hunger as it is longer to digest in the body.
To resume, fat is good for:
- Protection and insulation of vital organs
- Thermal insulation
- Fat soluble vitamins
- Hunger suppression
- Source and reserve of energy
Saturated, Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated and Trans- are all the different kind of fat. The main difference comes from the structure of the fat particles. An easy and simplified way to “see” the difference is saturated and trans-fat are solid at room temperature. In opposite, unsaturated fat are liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fat are more healthy than the others. I will try to explain it here.
The first principle is you should always avoid trans-fat as it is nocive. Trans-fat are produce from monounsaturated fat but are chemically modified. This modification make the products easier to use in industrial configuration but several studies have shown the bad impact of trans-fat on health (see WHO fight).
Saturated fat are natural but they also have a negative impact on your health. Both animal and vegetal food produce saturated fat but the first one is the main provider. The principal worries in the consumption of saturated fat is the increased risk of heart disease and associated risk factors, including higher blood cholesterol. Saturated fat should be no more than 11% of your food consumption in calories. Unfortunately, in UK the consumption is actually more than twice the recommendation with the impact that we know (obesity, heart diseases, cholesterol, etc.).
quantity of macronutrients
The actual recommendation is to have 3-5g per kg of bodyweight of carbs if you are inactive and up to 10g if you are doing more than 4h of intense activity per day (for exemple if you weight 70kg you should consume 210g-350g of carbs per day minimum). The recommendation for proteins is 1g per kg of bodyweight and up to 2g per kg if you are doing a bodybuilding training. Finally, the amount of fat should be between 20% and 25% of daily calories and it shouldn’t excess 35%. This amount should be divided by 13% of monounsaturated and 6.5% of polyunsaturated. Of course, that number are just recommendation and it is not always easy to respect it for each meal or each day. But on a weekly mean the proportion should be respected.
Replace saturated fat
In first sight, it doesn’t look easy to replace the fat you are using by something else. With a little bit of practise, it will get easier. How to replace milk and butter in the cake recipe? Maybe you should have a look at my peanut butter cake recipe (See below).
In this recipe, I have cut by half the amount of saturated fat in comparison to a traditional chocolate cake. I replaced the butter with peanut butter which is rich on unsaturated fat and protein. I also replaced the milk with an almond milk which is rich with calcium.
It is not always easy to use peanut butter, most of the time I use olive oil or rapeseed oil for cooking Both are rich in omega 3 and 6. In a cake, if you want to replace butter by oil, you have to cut by half the quantity. It is always better to use an oil with a neutral taste if you don’t want to ruin the taste of your cake.
The perfect diet doesn’t exist, as everybody is different we should all have our own diet. The diet should reflect your body composition, metabolism, your level of activity and your daily routine. It is also depending on the objective you have: eat healthy, loose body weight/fat, gain body weight, build muscles, etc. It is not always easy to find the perfect diet corresponding to yourself. If you need help, it is easy to ask for it. Do not hesitate!
Peanut butter cake
- 250 g Flour
- 200 g Sugar
- 20 g Baking powder
- 175 ml Almond milk unsweetened
- 2 Eggs
- 100 g Peanut butter crunchy
- 100 g Chocolate drops 70% dark
- Pre-heat the oven at 180°
- Cover a tin with baking paper
- In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients
- Add the milk, eggs, peanut butter and chocolate drops
- Mix all together
- Put the mixture in the tin
- Cook the cake in the oven at 180° for 45 minutes
- Remove the cake from the oven and check if the cake is fully cooked
- Let it cool down and enjoy