Friday, June 27, 2014

Macro #3 - FATS

Learning About Fats

1 gram of fat is equal to 9 calories


Although fats have received a bad reputation for causing weight gain, some fat is essential for survival. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes published by the USDA 20% - 35% of calories should come from fat. We need this amount of fat for:

  • Normal growth and development
  • Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
  • Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
  • Providing cushioning for the organs
  • Maintaining cell membranes
  • Providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods
Fat is found in meat, poultry, nuts, milk products, butters and margarines, oils, lard, fish, grain products and salad dressings. There are three main types of fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and trans fat. Saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, lard, and cream) and trans fat (found in baked goods, snack foods, fried foods, and margarines) have been shown to increase your risk for heart disease. Replacing saturated and trans fat in your diet with unsaturated fat (found in foods like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and canola oil) has been shown decrease the risk of developing heart disease.

The misconception about fat is that it is always bad for you. In fact, fat is essential for maintaining a healthy body.

The trick is to eat more of the good fats and less of the bad fats. Saturated and trans fats should be avoided while increases levels of unsaturated and the essential fatty acids, such as omega 3 and omega 6, can be good for you. Replacing sweets and high fat meats with foods such as nuts, avocados, and olive oil will help shift the balance away from unhealthy towards those fats that are useful to the body.

Fat has many roles in the human body. One of fats main functions is protection. This includes insulation to keep body temperature and cushioning to protect body organs. It also promotes growth and development, as well as maintaining cell membranes. Fat, in addition, plays a vital role in the digestion of vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins, meaning they need fat in order to be absorbed into the body.

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