A Fat Is A Fat…Isn’t It?!

Whether we’re trying to lose weight or just avoid gaining it, many of us think steering clear of dietary fat is the first step. Rather than cut out all fat, however, we’d be better served if we focused on what types of fats we eat.

Fat gives your body energy, keeps your skin and hair healthy, helps you absorb certain vitamins but needs to eaten in moderate portions.

The average adult should get about 20-30 percent of their daily calories from fat and less than 10 percent of their daily calories from saturated fats, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 

Keep Fat Portions Moderate

To keep portions moderate, remember that eating a whole avocado (30 grams of saturated fat) does not mean your body gets MORE healthy fats because you ate it all, versus half.  No more than 30 percent of your daily calories should come from fat and each fat gram contains 9 calories.

Saturated and Unsaturated Fats

A diet high in saturated fat, found in animal products and some vegetable oils, can lead to heart problems. Eating the right amount of unsaturated fats can help your heart It’s recommended to get a daily maximum of 22 grams of saturated fat.

Unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are considered good-for-you fats.

Omega-3, Omega-6, and Polyunsaturated Fats

Omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which are both considered unsaturated, are both considered essential fatty acids, because our bodies can’t make them on its own.

Polyunsaturated fats can help lower total cholesterol, while monounsaturated fats can raise “good” cholesterol, or HDL, and lower “bad” cholesterol, or LDL.

So where can you find these unsaturated fats?

  • Avocado
  • wild-caught salmon
  • and other fatty fish such as
  • tuna or mackerel
  • almonds and other nuts (1-2 ounces)
  • olives
  • olive or coconut oils one tablespoon of flaxseed that’s been ground which makes it easier for the body to absorb the health benefits which include the over 4 grams of healthy fat. 

A quick way to remember this all-too-confusing information is to steer toward whole foods, in appropriate portions, and stay away from processed foods (shop the exterior aisles of the grocery, instead of the interior ones).  If needed, consult a nutritionists for food choices and recommendations.

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