When talking about fats, it is easy to end up going down a wormhole of back and forth research, attempting to discern good from bad. With that being said, I will try to break this information down in a simple, sweet, and informative post that leaves you feeling confident about the foods you are eating in your everyday life.
Let's start off with our saturated fats, the dreaded fat that everyone wants to avoid. Because we should limit our daily intake of these fats, they are absolutely important to monitor. We should consume less than 10% of our daily calories from saturated fat. This will be about 16g to 22g per day. With that in mind, it is clear why it is so easy to over consume saturated fat when just a couple tablespoons provide your daily limit.
Saturated fat is a long straight carbon chain saturated with hydrogen bonds. This is the fat that is solid at room temperature and also found in animal products such as refined/hydrolyzed oils, red meat, baked goods, butter, cheese and dairy. This is that fat that also makes everything taste oh so good. In a limited amount this fat provides lots of benefits for the body such as normal cell function and transportation mechanisms for vitamins and minerals.
Next up is our monounsaturated fat. These contain a double bond in their carbon chain, creating a fat that is more useful to our body without so many hydrogen bonds attached. We want to eat as much of these as possible within our caloric daily limit. These fats are usually liquid at room temperature and can be found in foods such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts (almonds, pecans, brazil, cashews, peanuts). These fats help reduce heart disease and keep that bad cholesterol down (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL) up.
Polyunsaturated fats come in two types: omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids. Both of these are essential fats that we must eat in order for our body to function properly. These fats are important because they are used to build cell membranes and the coverings of nerves and are needed for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.
Omega 3 has a great reputation as it helps decrease inflammation, inhibit dangerous blood clotting, and lower levels of triglycerides. These fats are found in salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and eggs.
Omega 6 is the most common type of fat-carrying particle in the blood, which means they are our number one transporter of molecules in our body. It is a very important molecule that we only need a tiny amount of. An overabundance can lead to clogged arteries and raised cholesterol.
With everything said, it is always good to remember that the less processed foods and more whole foods consumed, you will hit the right levels of these fats. Everything in moderation, and let our body handle the rest. The less we confuse it and stay on track with our healthy eating habits, the better you will feel. There is a reason why these fats are naturally found in our foods and have very specific purposes in our body. We should never avoid food groups or certain nutrients - instead we should eat in moderation, as this will give us all the nutrients we need.
-American Heart Association
-Science of Skinny by Dee McCaffrey
Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.