How many times have you been forced to put something back on the shelf because the fat content reported on the nutrition chart was higher than “advisable” for your diet? But does eliminating it all help you settle it out with your weight issues or is there a healthy alternative you can explore?
Good Fats vs. Bad Fats – The Basics
The fact that fats are both a separate and important nutrient category underscores that we do need it in our diets – for the healthy functioning of the body, for the fatty acids and facilitating absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, for the softness of your skin, for energy, for heart health, take your pick.
According to the Dietary Guidelines (US Department of Agriculture), for adults, 20-35% of the calorie intake should constitute of fats. This is around 60-105g for men and 45-75g for women. Generally, even around 10% would suffice; however, we often end up consuming around 40%, and that’s where trouble comes knocking.
For their satisfying and flavor-enhancing qualities, fats are consumed more than the recommended amount, thereby contributing to weight gain and obesity, given the lifestyle and genetics aren’t flawed.
Second to the total amount consumed, the other factor affecting your health will be the type of fats you consume. These include:
- Saturated fats | found in dairy products, hard margarines, fatty meats, coconut oil, (clarified) butter, and palm oil
- Monosaturated fats | found in non-hydrogenated margarine, olive oil, avocados, canola oil, nuts (e.g. hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews) and peanut oil
- Polyunsaturated fats | this is further categorized into omega-3 and omega-6. Sources include cold-water fish (e.g. sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring), soybean oil, flaxseed, canola oil, pine nuts, and omega-3 eggs for the former, and non-hydrogenated margarine, sunflower, safflower, and corn oils, and nuts (pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds), and prepared meals for the latter
Using Healthy Fats in Your Diet Over coming Dilemma
While all fats will provide you 9 cal/gram, polysturated and monosaturated fats have a positive effect on your health as long as you eat in moderation. Now you know why they are known as “good fats” and the trans and saturated fats termed “bad fats”.
According to health experts, eating monosaturated fats will prove more beneficial if they replace trans fats or saturated fats in your diet.
Eat it in moderation and you’ll be provided with nutrients that develop and maintain body’s cells, contributing to an increase in vitamin E (an antioxidant).
Similarly, a diet rich in omega-3 is known to lower triglycerides and risk of stroke, prevent blood from clotting, and reduce inflammation. But caution should be taken where omega-6 is concerned because large amounts will reduce high-density lipoprotein (HDL) as well as the unhealthy low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
HDL transfers the extra cholesterol to liver to be disposed while LDL creates fatty deposits in arteries, restricting blood flow to the brain and the heart, thus increasing risk of stroke and heart disease.
The next time you’re buying “low-fat” or “fat-free” foods, know that this may not necessarily be a healthy decision. For more questions, get in touch with U RISE Personal Training for any help you may need accomplishing your fitness and health goals.