Don’t Be Afraid of the Fat

So many women are afraid of fat in their diet, equivocating fat in their diet with fat on their body. This, however, is not true. Your body needs essential fatty acids in order to function. You need fat to protect your organs, and some types can even benefit your heart.  A fat free diet isn’t good for healthy skin or hair, either. Of course, eating too much may cause you to gain weight, as gram for gram fat has more calories. But although fat has more calories than carbohydrates or protein, it also gives you the most energy. Aim for 30% of your calories to come from fat (about 65 grams), and be careful about what types you eat. Fat itself can be divided into three categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Below are some tips for what types to enjoy, and what types to avoid:

The good. These fats are good for your body. As mentioned above, your body needs essential fatty acids, and these fats are the best way to get them.  These are called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You’ll find monounsaturated fats in olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. Avocados are a delicious way to enjoy this good-for-you fat “ try slicing them in salads or on sandwiches. Raw nuts and seeds, and fish like salmon and sardines are also good for you. Polyunsaturated fats “ with Omega-3 and Omega-6 “ also pack a wallop when it comes to those essential fatty acids. Try cooking with sunflower, safflower and corn oils. Also have fatty fish like trout, herring, cod and mackerel once a week, and snack on pecans and pine nuts.

The bad. These fats are bad for your body. Not quite qualifying as ugly, but still bad. Indulging in these fats can lead to heart disease and other problems. These are saturated fats from animal sources and tropical oils. Try avoiding fatty meat (the more marbled a piece of steak, the higher the fat content), full milk products like cheese and butter, and anything cooked in coconut oil. Instead try low fat milk, cheese made from 1 or 2% milk, and low fat butter (light or whipped butter are usually good choices “ compare the labels.) Lots of fast foods are loaded with these bad fats, so read labels and do your research before indulging. 

The ugly. These fats are really, really bad. Also known as Trans Fatty Acids or Trans Fats, this type is toxic, and has been linked to certain types of cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. Avoid foods made with shortening, as well as deep fried food. Some types of margarine contain trans fats, as well as some processed or packaged foods. One thing to be careful of is that products with less than .5 grams of trans fat can be listed as trans fat free, so read the labels and if you’re in doubt, just skip it.

So treat yourself to a nice piece of salmon, snack on nuts and seeds, and start cooking with olive oil. There’s no need to be afraid of the fat, just choose what you eat with care. Your body will thank you!

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Tags: fat in diet, good fats, healthy fat, healthy fats, trans fat, types of fat

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