Today’s post is the first in a 3 part series on nutrition by our lovely dietician Alana. Below is all the information you will need to know about fats, so you can gain a greater understanding of how you can eat healthy for life when you receive your food diary report from her.
Fat is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be! Our bodies need fat to function, it is all about choosing the best fats to do the job. You want to limit the amounts of saturated fat in your diet. In my opinion you should eradicate trans-fats from your diet all together. You want to keep your intake of fat to about 25% of your total calories for the day. So if you’re determined, you should be eating 1600 calories a day, and your total fat intake should not be more than 400 calories.
1 gram of fat = 9 calories. This means you need to eat no more than 44 gm of fat a day.
Considering that a piece of pizza can be anywhere from 9-30 grams of fat, a Big Mac is 29 grams of fat, and 1 Tablespoon of butter is 11.52 grams of fat – it can add up fast.
Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids.
These fats reduce the risk of Coronary Artery Disease and our often called “Brain Foods” for reducing memory problems and typical signs of aging and helping prevent dementia.
Mono-unsaturated fats come from nuts, nut butters, canola, and olive oil.
Poly-unsaturated fats come from seeds such as flax, sunflower, and sesame. Safflower, sunflower, corn and soybean oils and non-hydrogenated soft margarine made from these oils.
Oily fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines or trout should be eaten 2 times a week in place of meat ** salmon (wild), sardines and herring are low omega-3 sources that are low in Mercury as well.
Hydrogenation is the chemical method that adds hydrogen to liquid oils to form a stable and solid fat. Many food companies love hydrogenated fats as they are cheap to make and improves shelf life of food products immensely (anything that does not go bad should not be put into the body – my motto!).
These fats are the worst out there. They raise LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower HDL (good cholesterol).
They have shown to increase Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and cancer risks. Do not eat any foods labeled Hydrogenated – common culprits are fried foods, baked goods, shortening, salty snack foods.
Saturated Fats should be limited but not totally eliminated from the diet.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature without any chemical modification.
Butter, hard margarine, lard, and shortening are obvious saturated fats. Creamy dressings and sauces, coconut milk, many deli meats, and a lot of crackers and baked goods also contain saturated fats.
Fat is needed by the body and also helps us feel satisfied and filled up. Many folks try to totally wipe out all fats in their diet in the hopes of losing weight. They end up being very cranky and feeling more hungry then if they would of just chosen healthy fats and eaten them in moderation.
There are always questions surrounding eggs and butter vs. margarine.
Eggs yolks do contain cholesterol as any animal product does. So egg yolks should not be eaten more than 4 per week for a person with healthy cholesterol levels. If you have high cholesterol than only 2 egg yolks should be eaten weekly. Egg whites are not high in cholesterol and can be eaten without restriction.
Butter vs margarine – both of these items should be limited. I never use either on sandwiches, corn on the cob, vegetables, or for cooking. So when I want butter on something I have it!
If you have high cholesterol you should be using a non-hydrogenated soft margarine instead of butter.
If you have healthy cholesterol and are limiting your total fat intake feel free to use butter sometimes as both butter and margarine have the same amount of calories per gram.
So when you go to Starbucks get an iced coffee no creamy topping instead of that Coconut Crème Frappuccino that will set you back for 32 grams of fat and 19gm of saturated fat – heart attack in a cup!
Keep on exercising as exercise increases HDL levels – your good cholesterol! Start reading those nutrition labels when you go shopping and mentally add up how much fat you are putting in your basket.
Also pay attention as items claiming to be “Low in Sugar” are often higher in fat.. Items claiming to be “Low in Fat” are often higher in sugar and simple carbohydrates.
Stay tuned tommorow for the next post in the series….CARBS – friend or foe?
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