When we hear the word fat most people have an immediate reaction that is associated with a negative connotation. Fats are notorious for the bad rap they have inherited from society. The role fat plays in our bodies is to help insulate body heat, support cell growth, protect your organs, produce important hormones, and absorb some nutrients. Fat contains 9 kcal / gram which is double the number of calories per gram found in proteins and carbohydrates. The tricky part about this macronutrient is the multiple different types of fats that can be found in our diet. Without proper nutrition education, this can create confusion and anxiety to the general public about which fat to consume.
Different types of fat explained
There are four different types of fat: Saturated fat, trans fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. The difference between these fats descended from the chemical structure that makes up these compounds. Saturated fat and trans-fat are found to be solid at room temperature. Some examples of these fats are butter, margin, chesses, and fatty meats. On the other hand, unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) are mostly liquid at room temperature. Some examples of these fats include vegetables oil, avocado oil, and peanut oil. Polyunsaturated fats are the only fats that have omega-3 fatty acids. The consumption of omega-3 fatty acid is important to our bodies to help lower blood pressures and prevent heart disease. Consuming omega-3 fatty acid through our food supply is the only way our bodies obtain access to this fatty acid.
What fats are the more nutritious option?
The consumption of unsaturated fat is known to be healthier option. Recent studies have shown that the consumption of these fats have been linked to decreased levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increased HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Other research has found that unsaturated fats can also decrease your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and coronary artery disease.
Which fats are considered unhealthy?
Both saturated fats and trans fat have been proven to be less nutritious for our body and therefore should be consumed in small amounts. Saturated fat is less nutritious is because they raise levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) simultaneously. Trans fat has appropriately developed a negative stigma behind its name. The negative stigma that descends from trans fat is because it does damage to our cholesterol levels in our body. Trans fat decreases our HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and increases our LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Foods that contain trans-fat are some baked goods such as cakes, cookies, pie, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, fried foods, non dairy coffee creamer, and margin. Most people are unaware that if a food contains less than 0.5g of trans fat, food companies are allowed to claim that there is 0g of trans fat on their nutrition label.
The consumption of fat is important to help our bodies produce numerous functions and help insulate our bodies. Without fat our bodies would not be able to perform important metabolic functions appropriately. Obtaining nutrition education around fats will help you become more self-aware about the type of fats you should be incorporating in your diet. Your total daily caloric intake of fat should fall between 20%-35% of total calories. Out of these total calories only 10% or less should come from saturated fats while the remainder 10%-15% comes from unsaturated fats. Information regarding additional macronutrients can be found in our previous weeks blog! At Forever Fitness F2 our nutrition is just as important to us as our exercises routines. Please reach out to your Forever Fitness F2 staff if you have any further questions about macronutrients!
Resources: Dietary fats: Know which types to choose. Mayo Clinic. Updated February 01, 2019. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550