EAT WELL

Dietary Fat

Dietary Fat
Dietary Fat
Photo credit: crossfitimpulse.com

Let me just start by busting common thought: FAT ISN’T THE ENEMY. It isn’t inherently bad. Contrary to what you think, fat doesn’t make you fat. The key here is to just eat the right kind. For the most part, fat coming from plant sources is better for you than those coming from animal sources. However, of course, there are exceptions, so I will list them for you.

Basically, there are four types: trans, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Trans fat is always bad. Saturated is usually bad. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are good.

Trans:

These are solid at room temperature. This category includes vegetable shortening, margarine, packaged foods and most fried foods. Be careful about checking the labels, too. Most will say 0 grams trans fat thanks to the serving size. Check the ingredients. “Partially hydrogenated” anything means that there is, in fact, trans fat in the product. 

Saturated:

These fats are solid at room temperature. Most are not good for your heart and cholesterol levels. This category includes fat from meat (not fish), full-fat dairy products, and coconut oil. However, coconut oil is actually GOOD for you thanks to it being about 40% lauric acid which is a medium chain fatty acid—a fat that is directly used by your muscles for energy. It is also antibacterial, antiviral, has antioxidants, and is good for your heart.

Monounsaturated:

These fats are solid at room temperature. This category includes olive oil, avocados, most all nuts, peanuts, canola oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil. They are really good for your heart.

Polyunsaturated:

These fats are solid at room temperature.  This category includes walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and soybeans. Also heart-healthy.

A sub-category here is omega-3’s. Sources include salmon, sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, and fish oil.  These fats are super important. They help your body to function optimally, and I don’t know of a single doctor that doesn’t want you to get more omega-3′s.

Personally, I love fat, and it comprises about 20% of my diet. My fat choices are coconut oil, avocados, fish oil, all nuts and all seeds.

**I would also like to note that you should not buy any packaged good that says “fat free”. Again, check the label. White flour or some sort of sugar will likely be one of the first ingredients. Yes, sugar technically has no fat, but in your body, thanks to hormones and biochemical reactions, it turns to fat, so limit it!