WHAT IS IT?
Gone are the days of the fat-free diet. Fat is not the evil it once was portrayed to be. Eating fat (the right kind in the right amount) will NOT make you fat. Fat is important as an energy source. Your brain and nervous system need it to develop and function, especially true for kids. It can help keep you full for longer periods of time. Certain fats have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce your risk of certain diseases.
All fat has 9 calories per gram, which adds up quickly if you are counting calories (which we hope you are not doing).
WHERE DO I GET IT?
There are good fats and bad fats. The bad boys are saturated fat and trans fats. These guys raise your LDL (“bad”) and total cholesterol leading to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity. Saturated fat is found in animal foods – fatty meat, poultry skin, high fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), butter, ice cream, coconut, palm oil. Trans fats are formed when liquid fat (oil) is changed into a solid fat through a process called hydrogenation. These new solid fats are just as bad as saturated fat, if not worse, as it lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Trans fats are found in anything that says partially hydrogenated (cottonseed, soybean, etc.) oil, shortening, margarine, desserts, pastries, chips, French fries, fried food.
The good fats include monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and Omega 3 fats, a type of polyunsaturated fat. Foods rich in MUFA include olive oil, canola oil, almonds, avocado, nuts, nut butters, and seeds. Good sources of Omega 3s include fatty cold-water fish (wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, sardines, herring, mackerel, trout, black cod), ground flax seeds, flax oil, and walnuts.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED?
The amount of fat you should be eating varies from person to person, depending on metabolic profile, activity level, and health conditions. We know that no one should be eating trans fats. In fact, there’s no recommended limit for consumption, as it’s that bad for you. Saturated fat should be less that 7% of total calories. MUFA and Omega 3 should be the overwhelming majority of your fat intake, and roughly 25-4-% of your total calories.