Is fat really that bad for you? Survey reveals we are terrified of being overweight

fatFat is often given a bad reputation. Many people wanting to lose weight will simply head straight to the fat content of any given food or drink product, disregarding all other nutritional values of said product. This is despite the fact that recently sugar has received more bad press as health experts continually warn against a diet high in sugar. Only last month UK cinema chains received fierce criticism for offering a glut of high-sugary treats to cinema goers in Britain.

According to a survey for Women’s Health magazine that quizzed over 4,000 people, over two-thirds of us believe we are fat, yet bizarrely a similar number of people from the same research say they aren’t overweight. It seems the nation has some self-esteem issues that need addressing.

Fat may get a bad rep and almost be a taboo subject, but we actually need fat to survive. “Science has shown us that a little fat both on our bodies and on our plates is actually healthy,” commented Women’s Health editor Farrah Storr.

“For years, fat has been seen as the enemy, but the tide is turning. As we become more nutritionally aware, many of us now realise fat could even be the secret to a longer life and a smaller waistline.”

So why do we need fats in our body? Firstly, fat is important as it provides the body with energy.  It is difficult to eat foods within a low fat diet to receive enough energy your body requires. Diets that are too low in fat (less than 20 – 25%) can trigger cravings and food binges. Fat aids the transportation, storage and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. A lack of fat could result in deficiencies of these particular vitamins. Fat also gives insulation under our skin from the cold and the heat, in addition to providing protection to organs and bones from shock.

However, this doesn’t mean you can start overloading on fat without worrying about the consequences. An average male should not consume over 30g of saturated fat per day, whilst it is just 20g of saturated fat per day for women. The NHS Choices website offer a fantastic guide into what fat we need and some of the foods it is advised to cut down on.

The Women’s Health survey showed a fascinating insight into the nation’s view of fat, with both sexes being afraid of it. Many who answered the questions would rather somebody viewed them as being stupid or old than fat and perhaps surprisingly, twice as many than women have contemplated using diet pills.

Women’s Views

. 76% go to the gym to lose weight.

. 72% think they are fat.

. 67% would prefer to be thought of as stupid than fat.

. 67% would prefer to look old than fat.

. 66% are aware they are not overweight.

. 63% look in the mirror and think they are fat at least once a day.

. 58% would prefer to be thin and unhealthy than overweight and healthy.

. 46% would not date a person they deem fat.

. 44% have thought about using diet pills.

. 36% think about their weight at least once a day.

. 20% have not gone on holiday because they felt fat.

Men’s Views

. 95% have thought about using diet pills.

. 77% would prefer to look old than fat.

. 74% go to the gym to lose weight.

. 71% would prefer to be thought of as stupid than fat.

. 65% think they are fat.

. 62% have not gone on holiday because they felt fat.

. 60% are aware they are not overweight.

. 57% would not date a person they deem fat.

. 48% think about their weight at least once a day.

. 47% would prefer to be thin and unhealthy than overweight and healthy.

. 35% look in the mirror and think they are fat at least once a day.

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