Fat Fight!

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There will always be a fight between good and evil and dietary fat is no different. When it comes to healthy eating, most think that all fat is bad and should be avoided. Truth be told, we all need a little fat now and then – the million dollar question is how much and what kind. Wait, there’s more than one kind? Yup, read on to learn about the good stuff and how to give the bad stuff the ol’ one- two.

Round One

While we’re getting warmed up, it’s important to mention that we can’t live without fat in our diets. Fats provide calories, keep our arteries flexible and are in every cell in our body. Also, it would be impossible for our bodies to use fat-soluble vitamins without fat… hence the name. 😉 According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (needs source) 25-30% of our daily calories should come from healthy fat and less than 10% should come from unhealthy fat.

Did you know – 60% of your brain is fat?1

Bad Fat

Saturated and trans fats are less healthy and should be avoided when possible. Saturated and trans fats clog arteries and increase cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Trans fats — which are artificially manufactured — are especially important to avoid.

Sources of saturated fats include high-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork), chicken with the skin, whole-fat dairy products, butter, cheese, ice cream, palm oil, coconut oil and lard.

You’ll find trans fats in commercially baked cookies, doughnuts, muffins and pizza dough, packaged snack foods, margarine, vegetable shortening and candy bars.

The Winner Is – Good Fat

In this corner we have the good fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated!  These fats are healthier because of their chemical makeup. hey help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. These good fats also play a role in helping with moods, staying mentally sharp and even controlling your weight.

Sources of monounsaturated fats include olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, avocados, olives, nuts and peanut butter.

Polyunsaturated fats include soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, walnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines), soy milk and tofu.

  1. US National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of Health
  2. The Mayo Clinic

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