Eat the Right Fat
The Borneo Post - Sun, 12 January 2003

Fat is back: Eating butter and drinking milk - In the right amounts - can be good for the heart.

There is no other known form of nutrition that has a worse image than fat. We always hear that fat makes us overweight and age before our time. It clogs up our arteries and serves as a precursor to cancer. The assurance that food is low in fat or without fat immediately makes it healthy in the eyes of many. Anyone eating fat, on the other hand, is a unrepentant fool, someone who is slowly eating him- or herself to death.

Today, many people are doing the same thing. They don't eat fat. However, it's not because they don't like it but rather because they have been told it will make them fat. According to an increasing number of nutritional experts, this is not necessarily the case. For years now, more and more products, which are low in fat are being sold in supermarkets. But people have nonetheless never been as fat as today.

Fat is necessary for our bodies. It carries out an array of important functions:

S  FAT gives us energy.

S FAT provides us with vitamins.

S FAT gives food its taste.

S FAT is an important building block for cells.

S FAT is a raw material for hormones and other regulatory substances in the body.

This lies partly in the fact that we're cheating. We are, of course, eating much more today than 20 or 30 years ago. We don't have a bad conscience about it either, because we feel it isn't fat, after all, only low-fat yoghurt along with a can of Diet Coke. Naturally, fat still play a definitive role in our being thin or overweight. But as the Mew England Journal of Medicine wrote, 'the decisive factor is not how much fat you eat, but the kind of fat you eat'.

Nevertheless, without a doubt, we all eat too much fat. We eat substantial meals, partly for historic reasons. In times of food shortages, as in Europe during the Second World War, fat played an absolutely vital role in nutrition. Fat filled and satisfied those who could get it. Those who had to do hard physical work got their energy from fat. Not without reason do we still speak of a 'hearty meal', meaning that the meal is large, very satisfying and certainly not without fat.

Times have quickly changed, but our eating habits have not quite kept pace. Only very few people today are engaged in hard physical work. Most people sit in cars, offices and in the evening at home in front of the television. This means that a person now needs less fat than 30 or 40 years ago. But that is not the only thing wrong with our current eating habits: most of the fat we eat is particularly unhealthy.

All fats have the same basic structure. A few simple differences are decisive in determining if it is good or bad for us. Fat consists of molecules and fatty acids. The framework of these fatty acids consists of carbon atoms, which in turn combine with hydrogen atoms. If each carbon atom finds a hydrogen atom, then we speak of saturated fats. If a few of the carbon atoms remain single, we term these unsaturated fats.

It is important to know this because these terms are increasingly being used when speaking of fat.


Three Simple Rules for Dealing with Fat

I. Eat balanced diet. If the food mix is right then your fat intake will be OK.

II. Fall in love with fresh fruits and vegetables. Anyone enjoying a good range of these will not have problems with fat intake.

III. Use high-quality oils. Don't be confused by the array of names in the supermarket.

Eat balanced meals, put your main emphasis on vegetables and fruit. Then you won't be stressed by fat.

The 10 Best Tricks for Dealing with Fat

1 Variety is the spice of life. - Eat a good mix of fruits and vegetables. If you do this, you can forget about fat-reduction pills.
2 Take exercise, play sport. - Have you sinned with an over-abundance of chips? Then atone for it by swimming or jogging.
3 Don't re-use oils. - Oil should be thrown out after use.
4 Don't cut down too fast. - You cannot trick your body. If you eat light, it will ask for two portions.
5 Stay alert. - Fat can be hidden anywhere, especially in pastries, pies, alcohol, nuts, etc.
6 Look for quality. - Always keep this in your mind whenever you go to supermarket. Remember, what goes inside your body is from what you eat.
7 Treat your oil with care. - Don't buy large amounts and be sure to store in a dark place. Good oil is very sensitive. Keep it in a dry, dark and cool place.
8 Down with fat. - Don't breathe easy too early. Naturally you're eating too much per day - go easy on your intake.
9 Try a few alternatives. - How about hemp oil? It tastes good and contains many unsaturated fatty acids.
10 Fats make you sexy. - Laboratory tests with animals have shown that eating a low-fat diet is detrimental to the sex drive.