Skinny on Fat

Do you know the difference between sources of fat, or their affects on your body when eaten? Not all fats are created equal and it is important to comprehend what your body needs vs. doesn’t need. Fat isn’t a resident evil, rather it is a requisite of a properly balanced diet and should make up some form of your daily feedings to support your body’s physiological needs. We use fat to help synthesize vitamins, give our body insulation and cushioning, and we couldn’t survive those long exercise sessions without its rich energy supply. We need it, but how much, what kind, what is good and what is bad?

Essentially there are two kinds of fat- saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats usually appear solid at room temperature and are found in butter, coconut oil, and palm oil. A diet with large amounts of saturated fat promotes heart disease and high cholesterol. In fact, saturated fat is the most potent LDL (bad) cholesterol raising substance, while a diet comprised of unsaturated fat is more heart healthy and has shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease- all good qualities in supporting human function.

Unsaturated fats are found mostly in plant oils, nuts, seeds and fish. Whether they are monounsaturated (olive oil, canola oil, almonds, avocado) or polyunsaturated (safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, or corn oil) they are beneficial in the diet, especially when they replace saturated fat. Of special note, the omega-3 rich unsaturated fatty acids found in flaxseeds, salmon, tuna and mackerel will reduce inflammation, help to strengthen the immune system, help keep the arteries more flexible and reduce the potential for blood clots-plenty of reason to include them in your diet…………………… Omega 3 Supplements Encouraged

Another source of fats that has been getting much attention in the food market these days are trans fat. Trans-fat are derived from vegetable oils, which are liquid in their natural state, but by adding hydrogen to their structure (called hydrogenation) these fats become partially solidified and make things like peanut butter and margarine easier to spread, and extend the shelf-life of pre-packaged foods. These types of fat are considered a threat to public health because they are not only found in countless processed foods and baked goods but they also raise LDL cholesterol, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, and have been linked to inflammation of the blood vessels- all of which contribute to poor health and vitality.

Taking all this into consideration can be overwhelming to the food consumer, so we’ve created a list of fat strategies to follow to assist you in keeping your dietary fat at optimal levels, from preferred resources and keep your body in the best health.

DIETARY FAT STRATEGIES:

  • Make monounsaturated fats the main fat in your diet- olive, canola oils
  • Eat nuts daily- almonds especially *one serving is 1/4 cup
  • Limit total fat intake to less than 30% of total daily caloric intake
  • Limit saturated fat to less than 7% of your total daily caloric intake- <15 g of saturated fat per 2,000 calories *NOTE- a fast food double quarter pound burger contains 19 g of saturated fat; 4 g more than daily maximum
  • Keep all sources of trans fat/hydrogenated oils out of diet- less than 1% of total calories * Read food labels for trans fats and/or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils of any kind.
  • Avoid all deep-fried fast foods- large resource of saturated and trans fats
  • Eat oily fish 2-3 days per week; 3-4 oz serving
  • Consume no more than 200 mg of cholesterol per day if trying to lower LDL *Shellfish, organ meats, and egg yolks are high in cholesterol
  • Consider taking an Omega-3 supplement

Now you’ve got the skinny on dietary fat and can keep these strategies in mind when eating out, walking up and down the aisles of the grocery store, reading your food labels, and preparing your daily meal plans. Take into consideration the sources of your fat, how they can affect your body in the long run, and keep it on the thin side when it comes to saturated and trans fat intake.

Remember the right kind of fat can do the body good, and the wrong can do the body harm. If not sure that you can maintain a quality diet, consider Omega supplementation Make good choices and your health will thank you for it!

Amy is the NW Regional Trainer for Resist-A-Ball, Inc. and Faculty Trainer for the American Council on Exercise. Her Bachelor of Science was attained in Holistic Nutrition and is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and yoga instructor. She also offers workshops, lectures and trainings for fitness professionals through her company FIT Launch, http://www.fitlaunch.com as well as providing personal training services locally.

To learn more and review health, wellness, and fitness products or learn how to receive free wellness information for your entire family, visit the Healthy Gatherings web site http://www.healthygatherings.com

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