We all need fat
Yes, fat has a bad reputation, but in truth we all need a certain amount of fat to keep our bodies functioning properly. The main purpose of fat is to store excess calories enabling them to be turned to energy. Fat, as part of this process, also releases the hormones that control our metabolism. It also helps us absorb the essential vitamins A, D, E and K.
Fat makes our skin glow
Fat maintains healthy skin and hair. In fact, if you get more of the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, it has been found to be very beneficial for those with eczema and dry skin.
What matters is good versus bad
The liver produces fat called cholesterol; of which there are two forms – LDL (low density lipoprotein) which is known as bad cholesterol due to the excess that can build up in your arteries, and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) often referred to as good cholesterol due to the help it provides in removing LDL cholesterol from the blood.
It’s the ratio of this we need to worry about. Ideally bad cholesterol should be no more than 3mmol/l and good should be above 1mmol/l.
It’s not just unhealthy people who can have high cholesterol
There is a condition – hypercholesterolaemia – which runs in families that can cause high blood cholesterol. This can affect one in 500 people, predisposing them to premature hardening of the arteries and heart attacks at an unusually young age.
About a half of men and a third of women with this condition will suffer a heart attack by the age of 60. Unfortunately this can’t be controlled by diet changes alone, with cholesterol-lowering statins the only treatment.