Posted on May 27 2016
Blog written by Alejandra Enriquez
If I could have any super power in the world it would probably be to make fat disappear. That, or X-ray vision (I’m looking at you Tom Hardy!) Unfortunately super powers and magic don’t exist, but fat does. Like any good magician knows, the trick isn’t to actually make things disappear but to learn how to properly use your tools!
Fats are essential to our diets, NOT optional. I like to think that nutrition is like the original Star Wars trilogy, with each film representing one of the basic macronutrients- protein, carbohydrates, and fats. If the Star Wars films were shortened, the series would not be as glorious as it is today. Consuming sufficient amounts of each macronutrient, fats included, will ensure that your diet is as balanced as Yoda on Luke Skywalker.
Depending on your own personal macros and goals, 20% - 35% of your daily calories should come from fat.
“Ew! Like why?” Well, fats build healthy cells, build brains, make hormones, provide cushion for your organs, and even provide healthier skin! Dull, lifeless hair and dry skin can be a sign that you may not be getting enough fats in your diet.Also fat is calorically dense. Packing 9 calories per gram, fat is a more concentrated source of energy than both protein and carbs.
You've probably heard of the term "fat-soluble." This refers to nutrients that cannot be absorbed by the body unless in the presence of fat. Some of these nutrients are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K.
Ever wonder why many labels for supplements and vitamins include instructions that the product is to be taken with a meal? That's to ensure there is fat to carry fat-soluble nutrients to your body. Also FAT IS DELICIOUS. Unfortunately for me and my obsession with donuts, not all fats are good fats.
The Light Side aka Monounsaturated Fats, Polyunsaturated Fats, and Omega-3
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats have been linked to lower cholesterol and heart disease. Some great sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, almonds, and cashews. Polyunsaturated fats are usually liquid and include corn, sunflower and soybean oils.
Avocados contain 3g coming from monounsaturated fat and 0.5g from polyunsaturated fat per 1-oz serving. So treat yourself to that side of guac!
Omega-3s contain DHA and EPA, which lower bad cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Some sources are; salmon, canola, soybean, olive and flaxseed oils, and walnuts. Personally, I ensure my daily dose with fish oil supplements.
The Dark Side aka Saturated Fats and Trans Fats
Saturated fats, usually found in animal products, including meat and milk, increase your level of bad cholesterol and risk of heart disease. Trans fats, which form when vegetable oil hardens, are found in fried foods, processed foods, spreads and baked goods. Saturated fats and trans fats should be limited in a healthy diet. Even though peanut butter contains saturated fat, it is made up of 80% unsaturated fat and therefore still considered “healthy” by numerous nutritionists!
The goal should never be to eliminate fats from your diet but to have the right amount, type and BALANCE!
Now about those super powers… I guess I’ll settle with Tom Hardy and X-ray vision. A world without avocados and peanut butter? NO, THANK YOU.