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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Nutrition Knowledge – The skinny on fat

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Fat is a macronutrient along with protein and carbohydrates. We need fat! Our brain is 60% fat and we need those essential fatty acids to help our brain function as it should. Our bodies need fat, too, as a source of energy and also to keep our joints and organs working well. But… what kind of fat?

The good fats consist of saturated and unsaturated fats that come from natural, healthy sources. Saturated fats that are healthy are from meat sources that are fed a good quality diet (grass-fed, pastured, wild caught) and also from plant sources such as olive or coconut oil that are organic and cold-pressed. We want some saturated fats in our diet because of the good energy source, and satiety factor helping us feel full. These include quality meat/poultry/fish, quality dairy and fats that are solid at room temperature like butter, ghee, coconut oil and tallow. Use these for cooking and include these meat and dairy sources in our diet.

Unsaturated fats (both mono and poly) generally fall into 2 categories, good for us and bad for us. The Standard American diet has way too many Omega 6 fats in it, like most vegetable oils (canola, corn, sunflower, safflower) which tend to be inflammatory, especially when out of balance with Omega 3. Omega 3 fats are unsaturated fats that our body benefits from and are anti-inflammatory: good unsaturated fat sources include olive oil, avocado, salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds and walnuts.

And then the UGLY: Trans fats. Avoid these completely. These are oils that are usually Omega 6 and they have been structurally altered to be solid at room temp. They are cheap, shelf stable and often used in processed foods, bakery items, etc.

Changes we can make:

  1. Eat foods from quality, healthy sources.
  2. Switch from canola or corn oil for cooking to olive oil (up to a medium heat), coconut oil, ghee or tallow from quality animal sources.
  3. Avoid processed foods as much as possible as even the organic chips we buy are usually fried in Omega 6 fats, so limit intake of these.
  4. Make salad dressings from scratch to control the ingredients.

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Patty Minta, RD, LDN
Patty Minta, RD, LDNhttps://nourishednestedandblessed.com/
Patty Minta is a Registered & Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist. Visit her website for links, nutrition info and tips at www.nourishednestedandblessed.com.
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