Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Word on Fats

We all avoid fat like the plague. We know it contributes to heart disease, some forms of cancer, diabetes and obesity. What we don't know is that our bodies cannot be healthy without fats.
Like carbs, they are a necessary part of our body composition. To avoid them completely would be a bad mistake.

Lets look at the good things fats do for our bodies and why, like oil for an engine, they are something we should be getting into our diet.

  • Fats supply essential fatty acids our bodies cannot make on their own.
  • They store energy.
  • Because they are poor conductors of heat, they help keep us warm.
  • They are shock absorbers, helping to protect our internal organs
  • They give us that shiny healthy skin and hair we all ache for as well as helping to transport vitamins through the bloodstream.

There are two forms of fats:

Saturated-These babies are loaded with all the hydrogen atoms they can carry. They are usually solid at room temperature. They also keep well. Usually derived from animal sources - (tallow from beef, lard from pork, butter from milk). Coconut and palm oil are also highly saturated

Saturated fats are high in the type of cholesterol that can build up in artery walls. Cholesterol is however a good and necessary thing. See below. We need cholesterol. Fat like anything is best in it's proper proportion. I firmly believe in eating butter over margarine. Whole milk over cream etc. I also just simply believe that we need to keep it in it's proper balance - explained below.

Unsaturated- Fat molecules that do not have all the hydrogen atoms they can carry are unsaturated. They come from plants and fish and are liquid at room temperature - (olive oil, peanut oil, corn oil)

Most of the fats you eat should be unsaturated.

Nutritionists recommend that no more than 30% of calories come from fat.

So how do you calculate this?

Multiply the grams of fat in one serving by 30
Then compare that to the number of calories in a serving.

If it is less, the food has less than 30 percent of it's calories from fat.


Total Fat 11g                                                                       Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 3g                                                                  Saturated Fat 0g
Calories 160                                                                        Calories 110
Carbs 14g                                                                            Carbs 25g

11*30=330                                                                  1*30=30
This has more than 30% fat since                                   This has less than 30% fat. 30
330 is far more than 160                                                is less than 110                                               

Note the carb content in each.

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Cholesterol is another topic to consider. We always hear the bad effects of when cholesterol builds up in our arteries but did you know that cholesterol is also a good thing?
What is cholesterol?

"Cholesterol is a waxy steroid of fat produced by the liver. EVERY CELL has it in it's outer layer. It is transported by blood plasma. It BUILDS AND MAINTAINS cell membranes! It is ESSENTIAL in determining which molecules can pass into cells. It produces sex hormones, produces adrenals, and produces bile. It CONVERTS SUNSHINE INTO VITAMIN D - something we all desperately need!
It metabolizes fat soluble vitamins and it insulates nerves.
So is cholesteral really bad?
The answer is yes and no.
I firmly believe that too much of anything is bad. There is nothing good in life that isn't bad in high numbers.
Fat and cholesterol is similar. I love my fats and cholesterol. They give me shiny skin and I am a sun baby so I love my vitamin d.

 The trick is just knowing how to limit it and not overeat the fats.
Keep your diet around 30% fat. Watch to make sure that you aren't getting too many and enjoy the amount you do eat. One of the things I LOVE about gourmet cooking is that it gets the balance perfectly. Think of a gourmet meal and you will be usually getting exactly the right balance on nutrients in a pleasing tasteful display.
Enjoy your foods. Enjoy your fats and sugars. Just don't make them the main course. And get your fruits and vegetables in.
Until next time,
Much love always,

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