It’s Good For You! THE SUBJECT OF FAT IN OUR DIET IS CONTROVERSIAL.
In the last few decades, Americans have heard conflicting messages about whether to eat a low-fat diet, a diet rich in unsaturated fats, or a diet low in saturated fats. Every year the information dispensed to the public is changing. We aim to demystify some of the confusion about fat in our diet because healthy fat is good for us. Unfortunately, many Standard American Diet eaters are hesitant to include healthy fat on their plate.
Let’s begin with a few basics to clarify some of the confusion about healthy fat before diving deeper into our fat discussion:
1. Fats are an essential nutrient to include in a daily diet. Healthy fat can include both saturated and unsaturated fats found in both plant and animal whole food sources.
2. The best fats to include are those that are less processed and remain closer to their natural form
3. Smoking or overheating oils when cooking will cause oxidation to the fat, thereby increasing the risk of harm to the body. Polyunsaturated fats are at greater risk of becoming oxidized compared to saturated fats due to the differences in their chemical structure.
Understanding the nutrition language of fats will help us to navigate the conflicting messages we have heard and help us to communicate clearly about the different types of fats in food, including saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. To begin, fat is an energy-dense nutrient providing nine calories per gram compared to four calories per gram from protein and carbohydrates.
The body digests fat more slowly than proteins or carbohydrates. Fat in your food can give you long-term energy, or what we like to call slow fuel, for the day, and helps to give you a satiated feeling from a meal. Fat surrounds and protects all the cells in your body, and the fat you eat is incorporated into those cell membranes.
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