For a long time, fat in our diet has been considered a culprit in heart disease, obesity and high cholesterol. So, we all try to avoid them. However, it is the type of fat that matters.
Increase your intake of some types of fat will increase the risk of heart disease but other types of fat is important to our health and well-being.
Fat is important to our body. It helps nutrient absorption, nerve transmission, maintain cell membrane structure and production of steroid hormones.
So, there are the good fats and bad fats
1) Good Fats
Monounsaturated Fats ( MUFA)
It lowers total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) and shown to help weight loss. You can find MUFA from peanuts, walnuts, almond, avocado, canola and olive oil.
Polyunsaturated Fats ( PUFA)
Similar to MUFA, PUFA lowers total cholesterol and LDL. Omega 3-Fatty Acids is one of the type of PUFA. You can find PUFA from salmon fish oil, corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oil.
Studies have shown that Omega 3-Fatty acids cause insulin level to reduce by 50%. Insulin is the hormone that promote fat storage.
2) Bad Fats
A large intake of saturated fat will increase total blood cholesterol and LDL It is mainly from animal products such as meat, diary, eggs, seafood, coconut oil and palm oil.
It is hydrogenated liquid oil used for food production and processing to increase shelf life of processed food. You can find trans fat in packaged food, commercially fried food such as French fries and popcorn, baked goods.
How much fat do we need?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that an average adult individual should consume fats in the following level:
- Keep total fat intake to not more than 20% of total calories. That will mean 44 g per day of a 2000 total calories. A serving of McDonald Double Cheese Burger alone is 23 g of total fat.
- Limit saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories ( 20g / day of 2000 total calories ). Out of the 23 g of fat in the McDonald Double Cheese Burger, 11g is saturated fat.
- Limit trans fat to not more than 1%. That will mean 2g per day of a 2000 total calories. 1 serving of McDonald French Fries has 10g of trans fat.
Tips to approach your fat intake
The simplest approach is to replace saturated and trans fat with health PUFA and MUFA including Omega 3-Fatty Acids.
- Dress your own salad – create your won salad dressings with high quality, cold pressed, olive oil, flaxseed oil or sesame oil with herbs.
- Butter or margarine – avoid both and go for olive oil instead.
- Reduce meat intake – go for lean white meat from poultry and oily fish. Choose low-fat cheese and milk.
- Look out for “partially hydrogenated oil” on food label. This is a trans fat suspect.
So, not all fats are bad. You should choose wisely and increase the intake of good fats and reduce the bad fats.
Do you know how much fat you are taking everyday?
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