Lipids are one of the most controversial nutrients in our diet. For years, they had a bad reputation: eating an avocado, a handful of nuts, opting for whole milk yogurts or dressing the salad with a good drizzle of olive oil, were suspected of raising our cholesterol and cause hypertension. For many people, fat consumption is also responsible for weight gain. On the contrary, the nutritional richness of fats would reduce cravings and keep you full longer. They are important for staying in shape, provided they are consumed intelligently and as part of a varied diet.
Today, scientific studies show that fats are essential for our balance: they are an excellent source of energy. (1 g of lipid = 9 calories, twice as much energy as a gram of carbohydrates or proteins), play an essential role in the composition of the cell membrane, help us regulate chronic inflammation, participate to the assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins and the synthesis of certain hormones! Your daily lipid intake should represent 35 to 40% of the day's energy intake, or 80 to 100 g. Obviously the goal is not to eat 100 g of butter, but to diversify the type of fat consumed for a quality lipid intake.
But are all fats the same? Of course not ! Many are necessary, but a few are extremely harmful. The key is knowing how to identify the good fats. Here's a little guide to getting there:
Polyunsaturated (or essential) fatty acids
Our body cannot produce them on its own, so our diet should provide them to us every day. They are subdivided into 2 categories:
Omega-6: They have a direct influence on the body's inflammatory response to external attacks (infections, injuries and other tissue damage). The body needs this inflammation to begin the healing process and “repair” itself.
In practice: consume eggs, meat and dairy products from free-range and grass-fed animals, raw walnut and sesame oil, oilseeds and pumpkin, sesame and sunflower.
Omega-3: They intervene secondly, through the release of anti-inflammatory substances, to put an end to the healing process. Without them, inflammation would become chronic. They are also essential for the brain, heart and eyes.
In practice: eat fatty fish (herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon), rapeseed oil, walnut and flax oil, oilseeds (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.) and flax, chia and hemp.
Although these 2 types of fatty acids are beneficial, the Omega 6 / Omega 3 ratio should not exceed 4 / 1. Unfortunately, modern diets contain far too many pro-inflammatory omega-6s. Omega-6 is already very present on our plate so there is no need to add more. On the other hand, you should really favor foods rich in omega-3 by consuming at least 1 tablespoon of vegetable oils rich in omega-3 per day and 2 fatty fish per week. For example, you can make your own vinaigrette using walnut oil, for example.
Monounsaturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fats, or omega-9, are among the very important lipids for the body, even if they are not essential since the body knows how to synthesize them. A sufficient dietary intake of omega-9 would have many benefits. In fact, they mainly contribute to preventing the onset of cardiovascular disorders, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (high cholesterol, hypertension and obesity). They should represent 50% of our daily fat intake.
In practice: eat olives and avocados, olive, hazelnut and sesame oil and oilseeds.
Saturated fatty acids
Consumed in a quality and reasonable manner, saturated fats do not represent any danger to health, it is their consumption in excess which can have deleterious effects on our health. They are essential to our body: they are an essential component of the cell membrane and our brain, and help us fix calcium in the bones.
In practice: eat eggs, meat and dairy products from free-range, grass-fed animals, and coconut oil. Avoid pastries, fried foods, animal products from intensive farming and industrial cold cuts.
Trans fatty acids
They are obtained by a process of hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acid molecules and are therefore the result of industrial manipulation of vegetable fats. Consumed in excess, they are accused of promoting obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic inflammation.
In practice: Avoid prepared meals, pastries, biscuits, pie crusts, certain margarines, aperitif biscuits, spreads, cereal bars and other processed products.