Should you Avoid Fats in Your Diet?

The age-old question, do fats make you fat? Should you avoid fats in your diet? Fats are one of the three macronutrients that your body needs in large amounts for energy.

should you avoid fats in your diet

The other 2 macronutrients are protein and carbohydrates.

Dietary fat is the most calorie dense macronutrient.

Fats are very important for normal body function and essential for your health.

When you consume the right fats, they can help your body absorb fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K, and helps hormones levels.

Fats are also beneficial in keeping your hair and skin healthy. They are even important for heart health and gives you energy. 

However, it is important to know which fats are best. Some fats can play a role with weight gain and heart disease. 

The Difference Between Unsaturated and Saturated Fats

Saturated Fats

Is a solid at room temperature. Examples are yogurt, full-fat cheese, red meats, fried foods, baked goods, butter, and full fat milk.

Saturated fats tend to raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in blood, and lower HDL (good) cholesterol in blood, this can increase your risk of stroke and heart disease. 

The American Heart Association recommends keeping saturated fats under 7% of your daily calories. 

One type of saturated fat is trans fats that can occur naturally in small amounts in red meat, dairy products and packaged foods.

Unsaturated Fats

Tends to be liquid at room temperature. Examples are fish and vegetable oils.

Unsaturated fats tend to improve blood cholesterol levels, reduce irregular heartbeats, lower blood pressure and reduce blood clotting which decreases risk of stroke or heart attack. 

There are two main types of unsaturated fats. 

  • Monounsaturated fat can be found in avocados, peanut butter, most nuts, peanut, olive and sunflower oils. Also, most animal fats such as beef, chicken and pork.
  • Polyunsaturated Fat is found in sunflower, cottonseed, corn and soybean oils and seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, flaxseed, walnuts, pine nuts and sesame.  Omega-3 are also in this category and found in fatty fish such as sardines and salmon.  They are known as essential fatty acids which your body cannot produce. They must be obtained in your diet. 

Consuming Fats The Right Way

It is recommended that you consume 20-30% of fats in the total daily caloric intake.

However, as with all macronutrients you need to calculate on an individual basis.  If you have issues with hormone levels, you may want to increase your unsaturated fat intake and keep saturated fats below 7%. 

Fat has 9 calories per gram which is twice the number of calories in carbohydrates and proteins which each have 4 calories per gram. 

It is best to stay away from processed food and anything from a box or bag from fast foods. 

Try swapping out a saturated fat such as butter, red meat or processed food for an unsaturated fat such as olive oil, fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables. 

Slow and steady is more sustainable. 

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