Fats

Fats are an essential part of your diet, regardless of their bad reputation. However, not all fats are created equal. By knowing about the different types of dietary fats and using the guidelines for daily fat consumption, you can eat the right amount of fat. The three types of fats naturally present in foods are saturated, and mono- and polyunsaturated fats. A fourth type of fat is trans fat and is created during the processing of some foods.

♦ Saturated Fats are solid at room temperature and are found primarily in animal foods (red meats, lard, butter, poultry with skin, and whole milk dairy products); tropical oils such as palm, palm kernel and coconut are also high in saturated fat.

♦ Monounsaturated Fats are liquid at room temperature and are found in olive oil, canola oil and peanuts.

♦ Polyunsaturated Fats are liquid at room temperature and are found in fish, corn, wheat, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

Saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats should each be less than or equal to 10% of your total daily kcals. Therefore, total fat intake should be less than or equal to 30% of your total daily kcal intake.

Monounsaturated Fats

(Canola, Olive, and Peanut oils)

Saturated Fats (Animal fats and tropical oils)

Monounsaturated Fats

(Canola, Olive, and Peanut oils)

Polyunsaturated Fats (Corn and Safflower oils)

Saturated Fats (Animal fats and tropical oils)

Polyunsaturated Fats (Corn and Safflower oils)

Trans Fats are created during manufacturing by a process known as hydrogenation. This process converts unsaturated fats to saturated fats. Manufacturers hydrogenate foods to improve the shelf-life of their products. Currently, food labels do not list the trans fat content of a food but if "hydrogenated oils" are listed under ingredients it indicates the presence of trans fats. The more processed foods you eat the greater your trans fat intake. Trans fats may increase blood cholesterol.

A high-fat diet is associated with many diseases, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. On average, people who eat high-fat diets have more body fat than people who eat high-CHO, low-fat diets. On the other hand, a fat-free diet is also very harmful since fat is an essential nutrient required by the body (see a list of its functions below).

Fats are used in the body to:

♦ Provide a major form of stored energy.

♦ Insulate the body and protect the organs.

♦ Carry other nutrients throughout the body.

♦ Serve a structural role in cells.

♦ Satisfy hunger and add taste to foods.

Energy From Fat

1 gram of fat supplies 9 kcal, more than twice the energy supplied by CHO. Fats should supply no more than 30% of your total daily kcals.

/'Example:

A 1-ounce bag of potato chips that provides 152 kcals contains 10 grams of fat. The kcals from fat are:

10 grams x 9 kcals = 90 kcals from fats.

Worksheet 2-3. Determine Your Maximum Fat Limit

Your EER

kcal of fat

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a part of body cells, and serves as a building block for some hormones (e.g., testosterone and estrogen), and it is required to digest fats. The body makes cholesterol in the liver. Cholesterol is also consumed in the diet by eating animal products. A diet high in dietary cholesterol and saturated fats is associated with an increased risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that daily cholesterol intakes do not exceed 300 milligrams. Red meats and egg yolks are cholesterol rich foods that should be consumed in moderation.

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