Catering news: fat is back

Written by Professor David Russell in partnership with Charlotte Harbour, The Russell Partnership

Over the past few months, the main trend we’ve been noticing is that dietary “fat is back”. The days of low-fat yogurt and half-fat cheese may be behind us. Research is finding that naturally high-fat foods such as avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seeds, eggs and high-quality animal fats may not deliver the menagerie of negative health consequences once portrayed.

In fact, research is confirming that high-fat diets are primarily problematic when combined with high-sugar diets. In practical terms, this means conventional refined goods high in sugar and fat, such as cakes and biscuits, deliver worse health outcomes than a high-fat meal such as avocado and egg on wholegrain rye bread – as you may naturally suspect.

We know that high fat is back, but why should we care? What does this mean for our health – first and foremost? Well, it may deliver physically positive health outcomes such as controlled weight management and enhanced blood glucose control. Secondly, studies have shown that a higher consumption of omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish, eggs, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds can help lower inflammation in the body and have positive mental health outcomes, such as reduced incidence of depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. As the brain is made up of approximately 60% fat – it’s no wonder that healthy fats are a friend to the brain.

Professor David Russell

To summarise, what fats are on today’s good list?


 – Coconuts, coconut oil, coconut butter

 – Nuts: walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans but not peanuts (as these are legumes)

 – Seeds: pumpkin, sesame, chia, hemp

 – Fatty fish, including sardines, mackerel, herring and wild salmon

 – Olives, olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil 

 – Grass-fed, free-range and Red Tractor-assured animal products, including omega 3-enriched eggs

 – Full fat goat’s and sheep’s dairy (easier to digest than cow’s dairy)

What fats should we limit? Use the following fats sparingly:

 – Vegetable oils and margarine

 – Hydrogenated fats

 – Cakes and pastries

 – Cookies and biscuits

 – Deep-fried foods (damaged fats) and crisps

 – Low-quality eggs and animal products

Bottom line… know your fats!

To learn more, visit the Russell Partnership

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