Stop being scared to eat fat. You need it in your diet.
When you go to the grocery store, you can become bombarded by options of supposedly healthier foods because of their "low fat" or "fat free" labels. While these foods may have less fat, they are high in sugar, processed carbohydrates, and calories in order to still have a desirable taste.
Now this does not mean I am telling you to go eat a bunch of french fries and fried chicken.
Bad fats, such as trans fats, are guilty of the unhealthy consequences—weight gain, clogged arteries, and so forth. But good fats such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats have the opposite effect.
In fact, healthy fats play a huge role in many bodily functions and support overall health.
Why you need to be eating healthy fat:
1) It's a source of energy - next to carbs, fat is a major fuel source for the body.
2) Essential fatty acids - these fats are not made by the body and must be consumed in our diet. They are important for growth development and many cell functions.
3) Help the body absorb vitamins - fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) must have fat present in the bloodstream to be transported.
4) Hormonal balance - fats are crucial in regulating your hormone levels.
5) Maintain healthy body tissue - all of your body's cells need fat in order to work properly - from nerve cells (myelin sheath) to red blood cells' membrane.
So what kind of fats should you be eating?
Mainly unsaturated fats. Saturated fats have gotten a bad rep over the years, but more and more research is strating to come back that saturated fats are ok to eat in moderation. Trans fats are the worst type of fats you can eat, and have been shown to directly correspond with heart disease and clogged arteries. Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been physically altered and created by artificial means (so trans fats can only found in processed foods).
Here are some examples of healthy sources of fats:
- Olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil
- Peanut Butter
- Whole Eggs (yes, the yolk too)
- Cheese (in moderation!)
Bad fat examples:
- Fried foods (french fries, fried chicken, fried fish, etc.)
- Commercially baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, etc.
- Stick margarine
- Highly processed foods
Fat should account for about 20-35% of your daily total calories. So for a 2000 calorie diet that would be between 44 and 77 grams of fat per day.
Do not skimp on the fat, try make the majority of your fat consumed come from healthy sources, and your body (and waistline) will thank you.
Till next time,