Fats – The Importance of Fats

Fats – The Importance of Fats

Let’s talk fats and the importance of it!! There are actually two forms of fats, saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fats are oils, such as olive and canola oils. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature like palm oil or coconut oil. I know you’re probably wondering, what’s the difference between the two? Unsaturated fat can benefit your health, while saturated fat can clog your arteries and increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke. The human body needs both saturated fats and unsaturated fats to remain healthy; however the majority should come from unsaturated fats. According to the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee, the current recommendation of daily saturated fat intake is 25-35 percent. For those faithful calorie counters on a 2000 calorie a day diet, that’s less than 140 calories (or 16 grams) of saturated fats. Examples of this type of fat is meat and dairy foods such as fatty beef, lamb, pork, chicken with skin, whole milk, cream, butter, cheese and ice cream. So remember to limit your intake of these types of foods!

Unsaturated fats are found in plant foods and fish. Stick with canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil and sunflower oil for cooking and food preparation to ensure you’re getting unsaturated fats. Oily fish – salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout – contain a type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids, while most nuts and seeds contain a type of unsaturated fat called omega-6 fatty acids. Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, and normal growth and development.

Fats are a major fuel source for your body, which means it provides a lot of calories and is the main way to store energy. One gram of fat releases twice the energy as one gram of carbohydrates. You need fat to help you absorb certain nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, K and antioxidants. Fat is also important in giving your cells structure. Try to eat the healthy fats, although they have more calories per gram than carbs and protein, they are also more flavorful and will satisfy your appetite. So the next time you think about giving fat flak, just remember not all fats are bad!