More about Food Groups: FATS
Standard: Decreasing Fat Intake
Identifying Fats in Foods
What is Fat?
Fat is an essential nutrient that must be obtained in our diets from the foods we eat. While our bodies need fat, some are considered healthier than others.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like, substance that our bodies need to function properly. It is available from two sources: our bodies and certain foods. The liver produces cholesterol in order to make hormones. Cholesterol is also found in all animal products. Vegetable products do not contain cholesterol. Eating foods high in dietary cholesterol may add too much cholesterol in the bloodstream. This excess cholesterol accumulates on the walls of the blood vessels.
Unsaturated: Oils that remain liquid at room temperature such as olive oil or canola oil and are found predominately in plants.
Polyunsaturated: An unsaturated fat found in sunflower, corn, soybean and cottonseed oil
Monounsaturated: An unsaturated fat found in olive, peanut and canola oil
Omega-3: A unique form of polyunsaturated fat found in some fish and flax seed
Omega 6: A unique form of polyunsaturated fat found in flax seed and safflower oil and walnuts
Less Healthy Fats
Saturated: Oils that remain solid at room temperature like butter, and are found predominately in animal foods such as meat and cheese.
Hydrogenated (also known as trans-fats): Unsaturated oils that have hydrogen added to it. The hydrogen chemically transforms the liquid vegetable oils into solid saturated fats, such as solid vegetable shortening or margarine. This process creates a fat that our bodies don't recognize and therefore can't metabolize properly.
The Difference Between Saturated Fats and Trans-fats
Trans-fats are an unnatural source of fat and are unrecognizable to our bodies, while saturated fats are natural and are properly processed by our bodies. Therefore our bodies receive no health benefits from trans-fats. While saturated fats can increase our risk for heart disease, they also provide our bodies with many of the same health benefits as un-saturated fat.
Benefits of Healthy Fat
1. Fat is a source of energy
2. Fat is stored in our bodies and helps to keep us warm
3. Fat allows Vitamins E, A, D and K to be absorbed into our bloodstream
4. Essential fatty acids are used to build cell membranes
5. Fat maintains healthy skin and hair
6. Fat is important to brain development and brain functioning
7. Omega-3 fats decrease risk of artery blockage and heart attacks
8. Omega-6 fats maintains healthy nerves and blood cells
Disadvantages of Eating Less Healthy and Un-healthy Fats
1. Trans-fats & saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels
2. Trans-fats & saturated fat, over time can cause arteries to clog
3. Trans-fats and saturated fat can increase the chance of cardiac disease
4. Trans-fats interfere with the function of the immune system
5. Trans-fats increase c-reactive proteins causing arterial inflammation
6. Trans-fatty Acids interfere with many enzyme functions
7. Consuming excess fat can increase body weight
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories a day from saturated fats
- Limit consumption of trans-fats as much as possible
- Keep total fat intake between 20-35 percent of calories with the majority coming from unsaturated food sources.
- When adults are selecting meat, bean and dairy products choose low-fat or fat free products
Recommended Daily Allowance: 65 grams (or 585 calories) for a 2,000-calorie a day diet
Eat more of these unsaturated fats:
|Olive oil||flax seeds||tuna|
Eat fewer saturated fats
|Whole milk||Cheese||palm oil|
Prepared for HealthTeacher by Lisa Ford