Let’s talk about the dreaded nutrient known as fat. Some of you may cringe just hearing the word, as there is much debate surrounding this macronutrient. Do low fat diets really work? Are low fat diets even good for us? If fat is one of the three main macronutrients, why are we continually told it’s “bad”? But don’t worry! I have good news. Fat is essential for our bodies and actually has many positive health effects, meaning it’s time to shed our low fat diets and embrace the idea of eating your fats.
Perhaps one of the reasons you are so terrified of fat is because it is high in calories. This is true, it’s 9 calories per gram compared to carbohydrates and protein which are each 4 calories per gram. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Fat may be higher in calories, but it makes you feel fuller longer, which should prevent you from eating more food.
Let Me Highlight Some Important Facts
- Fat is extremely important in our central nervous system (CNS) because it makes up the myelin sheaths, which insulates the axons of nerve cells. An axon is the party responsible for conducting electrical impulses away from a neuron’s cell body and when many are bundled together, they help make up our nerves. Long story short, fat allows us to function.
- Hormones are made from fat
- Unsaturated fats, known as the “good” fats include omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health, steadying and regulating your cholesterol triglyceride levels, and improving brain health and development
- The more liquid the fat, the more unsaturated the fat is, such as olive and avocado oils
- Saturated fats are known as the “bad” fats, but there is much debate over this
- Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the best kind to consume
- Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble…meaning they need fat in order to be digested, absorbed, and transported
- Fat is used as an energy source for our bodies and stores energy if excess is consumed and our bodies can’t use it immediately
- Do your best to avoid trans fat. It raises LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) and lowers HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind), increasing your risk of heart disease
Great Sources of Good Fats!
- Oils extracted from plants (olive, flaxseed, rapeseed, sunflower, linseed, etc)
- Peanut butter
For more inspiration, click here for a number of recipes full of healthy fats!
So How Much Fat Should You Eat Daily?
- 20-35% of your calories each day
- No more than 10% of that should be from saturated fat
- For a 2000 calorie diet, this would be around 44-78 grams of fat total with no more than 20 grams coming from saturated fat
How Can I Help?
I know that even with the facts, fat can still be scary. Many diet trends are promoting this concept of low fat and want us to remove fats almost entirely from our diets. This only enhances this fear of fats! If you’d like to talk about adding more unsaturated fats to your diet contact me today to set up an appointment! I’d love to help you find balance in your nutrition and shed your fat fears!