FAT, it's necessary in your diet. What do you know about dietary fat? Many people I talk to about eating health fats in their diet is the smug look like: 'yeah, if I eat fat, I will get fat'. That is the old way of thinking and now we have shifted to the other end of the spectrum of eating fats as a primary fuel source and then decreasing carbohydrates (keto). With so much information out there I am not surprised that you are confused with what you should be doing. I want to break it down into the basics of why you should be eating healthy fats and how to incorporated them into your diet,
First off, fats come in four major different types and they all impact our health in one way or another. Keep in mind that all fat-containing foods have a mix of these fats, but some have higher amounts than others.
#1 Monounsaturated fat is often referred to as healthy fat. Monounsaturated fat is the least controversial of all the fats, and is likely protective against diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and even certain cancers. Monounsaturated fats are found in lots of healthy whole foods. The most common sources of include olives and olive oil, avocado and avocado oil, and nuts such as almonds, macadamia nuts, and pistachios.
#2 Saturated fats play essential structural roles in the body, especially in the structure of cell membranes. Many saturated fats found in animal foods also contain fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, and K2, all of which are crucial for good health. Foods higher in saturated fat include beef, lamb, pork, coconut, and dairy products like butter and cheese. Consuming these foods regularly is healthy for most people, and there’s no need to fear these foods in your diet.
#3 Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) contain two or more single bonds in their fatty acid chains, keeping them fluid even at cold temperatures.The two most commonly discussed PUFAs are omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fats are found primarily in nuts and seed oils and grain-fed animal fats. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish, certain nuts and seeds, grass-fed animal fats, and egg yolks.Foods that naturally contain PUFAs like fatty fish, poultry, and nuts and seeds can be eaten regularly but should be balanced with other foods containing primarily monounsaturated and saturated fats.
#4 Trans fats generally refer to the artificial fats that are created by adding hydrogen atoms to a polyunsaturated fat, making these fats more solid and similar in consistency to saturated fats. rans fats are less likely to spoil or go rancid, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life. These fats are well known to cause serious health issues when eaten regularly. They are known to raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol, and increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.Trans fats are primarily found in shelf-stable baked goods, frozen processed foods, some margarines, and some fried foods. Common sources of trans fats include doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies, and cakes.Look for the words “partially hydrogenated” or “fully hydrogenated” in the ingredients list if the label does not disclose the trans fat content.
How much fat should you eat? While there are no one-size-fits-all guidelines for fat consumption, there are some basic minimums that women need to hit for adequate fat intake. I like to keep many of my clients at 60+ grams of fat per day coming from healthy sources. The amount of fat you need really depends on your health and fitness goals, overall calorie needs, and food preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different amounts of fat to figure out what works best for you and your goals.