'Eat Right' Challenge, Fat - Day 21

Emma White - Nutritionist

Fat can raise a lot of questions when it comes to health and dieting. Here we address some common fat-related questions raised by our members.

What do you think of Butter Coffee?

Butter or 'Bulletproof' Coffee has grown in popularity from its beginning in the US and is marketed to solve hunger and weight loss. The principle is that a shot of coffee mixed with coconut oil-based fat and butter helps to alleviate hunger, keeping you fuller for longer and can be used as a breakfast replacer.

I have three issues I don't agree with. Firstly the evidence is very patchy to support any of the claims being made. Secondly, it is based on adding saturated fat into the diet (through butter and coconut oil). And thirdly, it suggests that a butter coffee should replace your breakfast – meaning you miss out on other super important nutrients such as wholegrains, fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.

In my view, you are better off enjoying your regular coffee and having a wholesome breakfast of cereal, fresh fruit and yogurt to start your day.

Is it better to eat a little real butter or use a reduced-fat spread?

It's really up to you and what you prefer. If you like the taste of butter, then have a little bit when you fancy it – but think about portions and frequency. If you are less concerned about taste, then swapping to reduced-fat or plant-based spread is an option – these tend to be slightly lower in calories and often are richer in unsaturated fats. But it all comes down to the amount you have, your taste preference and whether you want to swap.

Are liquid fats better for you than solid fats?

Yes, the simple answer is that liquid fats tend to be predominantly unsaturated fats, whereas solid fats tend to be saturated fat. Having more saturated fat in your diet increases the risk of raised blood cholesterol, which increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Is it dangerous to cut your fat intake too low?

Yes – we need to have some fat in our diets. We have fat in every cell in our bodies that needs to be replenished daily. Fat is an essential energy source and provides us with essential fatty acids (which we cannot make in our bodies) and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Without any fat, we are unable to source these crucial nutrients.

Nutritionist Emma White (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.

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