Understanding Fats

For health conscious individuals, the fat content of food used to be a deciding factor of our food choices. Nutrition is ever-evolving and with newer research we now understand the importance of fats in our diets. Don’t live in fear of fat any longer. Understand it and make it work for your benefit. 

  • Saturated fat: Is typically solid at room temperature and includes tropical oils, coconut milk, butter, full-fat dairy, and fatty meat. These fats were believed to cause heart disease, but research is now proving that isn’t the case.
  • Mono-unsaturated fat: These fats actually help improve cholesterol levels and lower heart disease risk. They include olive oil, nuts, seeds, peanuts, and avocados.
  • Polyunsaturated fat: There are several types of this fat, but two important ones that our bodies cannot make are omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3s are found in wild salmon, tuna, sardines, walnuts, and flax and have health benefits including lowering blood pressure and inflammation. Omega-6s are found in soybean, corn, and sunflower oil and can help reduce diabetes. 
  • Trans- fat: Most of these fats are usually chemically altered fats that are added to processed foods to increase shelf life. These fats are bad for cholesterol levels and should be avoided. Some countries have outlawed the use of this type of fat in food production.

Fat is essential for vitamin absorption, hormone production, hair and skin health, satiety and more. Fat can and should be consumed in moderation, except for trans-fat. Read your labels carefully, because some foods still contain trans-fat even if the label says 0 grams. The FDA allows for 0.49 grams per serving before it is listed on the food label. Check the ingredients for “partially-hydrogenated oil.”