Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things fat can be.
LOL (Sorry, channeling my inner Salt-N-Pepa)
Happy Friday Fitfriends!
I briefly talked about today’s baby step when I taught you how to Read Food Labels, today it’s time to learn about…
Dietary fat or fatty acids have gotten a bad rap over the years. Although, it seems more people are starting to understand that not all fats are created equal. There are ‘good’ fats, ‘bad” fats, and ‘medium’ too, although, those are lumped in with the bad because too much medium fat will turn to bad.
What’s the difference?
‘Good fats’ or unsaturated fat, are your omegas: monounsaturated fats (omega-9) and polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6).
They have been shown to support your cells (from development to protection), support your immune and nervous systems, improves vitamin absorption, lowers bad cholesterol (HDL), raises good cholesterol (LDL), and can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. (1)
Some ‘Medium fat’ or saturated fat in your diet is fine, but when it takes up too many of your TOTAL DAILY calories consistently it has the same effect as ‘bad fat’.
‘Bad fats’ or trans fat have been shown to increase risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. They can increase inflammation in the body, as well as mess with your cholesterol levels. There are trans fats that occur naturally in foods, such as meat and milk, but most trans fat is synthetic. Yep, human-made. It’s created with partial hydrogenation, a food process that gives food an unnaturally long shelf life.
Something you need to understand is that ALL food and oils contain a mixture of fats or fatty acids. Whatever it has the most of in it is what determines if it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines from choosemyplate.gov says that a healthy eating plan can contain up to 35% of your total daily calories from fat. That number should be primarily be made up of unsaturated fats (good), no more than 7% to 10% of saturated fats (medium), and 1% or lower of trans fat. (2) BUT it’s important to note that the American Heart Association recommends only 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat. (3) So please consult, listen, and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
You have to keep in the back of your mind that part of the reason fat got a bad rap in the first place is that it’s calorie dense. One gram of protein or carbohydrates has only four calories vs. one gram of fat which has nine calories. It adds up quickly! (4) Too many calories, too often, and not enough exercise can lead to obesity and all the problems and risks that come with it. Also, it’s so easy to over-indulge because fat tastes good. So watch your portions!
This week’s task is to take a closer look at what you’re eating. Read every single label! Get a better idea and understanding of what kind of fats you’re eating the most of because next week we’re going to be cutting PHOs out of our diets.
Have a wonderful weekend!
(1) “Dietary Fat: The Good, the Bad, and How to Eat the Right Ones.” Good Fats 101, www.goodfats101.com/wp-content/uploads/Good-Fats-101-Dietary-Fats-Fact-Sheet.pdf.
(2) “2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines: Answers to Your Questions.” Choose My Plate USDA, 7 Jan. 2016, www.choosemyplate.gov/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines-answers-your-questions
(3) “Saturated Fat.” American Heart Association, March 24, 2017, https://healthyforgood.heart.org/Eat-smart/Articles/Saturated-Fats
(4) “Good Fats vs Bad Fats: What You Really Need To Know.” Orthology, March 28, 2017, www.orthology.com/nutrition/good-fats-vs-bad-fats-really-need-know/