Food & Wine

Fats or Fiction?

Fats or Fiction?

Joburg-based dietician Mayuri Bhawan spills the beans on what you should (and shouldn’t!) believe about fats.

All fat is bad for you – Fiction

Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fat provide essential fatty acids that your body does not produce on its own. Monounsaturated fats help to reduce Total and LDL cholesterol and may increase HDL cholesterol, which is cardio-protective. The monounsaturated fats should be given preference in the diet over the other types of fat, due to their beneficial health effects.

Examples of Mono-unsaturated fats are avocado pear, avocado oil, olives, olive oil (the richest dietary source), canola oil, peanut butter, peanut oil, and nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazel, macadamia, peanuts, pecans and pistachio nuts, and canola and olive oil margarine.

Examples of Poly-unsaturated fats are sunflower seed oil, soy bean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, sesame seed oil, walnut oil, safflower oil, walnuts, pine nuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, linseeds as well as products made from these oils e.g. soft tub margarines and salad dressings.

Chia, Hemp and Flax seeds are for the birds – Fiction

They are a great source of heart healthy polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 & 6). There is evidence to suggest that they support immune and brain functioning, are cholesterol lowering and have anti-inflammatory characteristics. They also contain healthy doses of both protein and fibre.

Coconut oil replaces Olive oil – Fiction

For years, coconut oil has been publicized as a healthy fat. Even though it moisturizes your hair and skin beautifully, coconut oil is not heart healthy.

The latest advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA), states that coconut oil raises LDL (bad) cholesterol just like butter, beef, and palm kernel oil. It is a saturated fat, full stop!

Bonus: Don’t Freekeh forget to add grains to your diet!

The health advantages of whole grains are largely associated with consuming the entire whole grain “package.” This will ensure you get all dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Most of the health-promoting substances are found in the germ and bran of a grain kernel.

Types of whole grains include rolled oats, brown rice, whole-grain barley, wild brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, quinoa and sorghum. Other less common whole grains include amaranth, freekeh, farro, grano (lightly pearled wheat or “stampkoring”) and spelt.

Contact Mayuri on:


T: 011 023 8051



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