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Friday, January 29, 2016

Fat - The Misunderstood Macronutrient


Fats. Often getting a bad reputation and being cut out of diets completely for fear of putting on some unwanted pounds or leading to an unhealthy lifestyle. Now don't get us wrong - too much of anything bad in your diet will end in unwanted results. However, fats are a necessary component to any diet - they aid our body in using vitamins, building healthy cells, providing energy and healthy skin, among other things. That being said there is a difference between good fats and bad fats. "The accumulation of body fat usually results from an inadequate diet, one comprised, for the most part, of carbohydrates and unhealthy fats." (www.bodybuilding.com)



What exactly are the bad fats and good fats?

Bad Fats 
Saturated Fat - found in animal products (meat, seafood, whole-milk dairy products, poultry skin, and egg yolks); increase blood cholesterol by increasing both types of cholesterol; LDL and HDL; More readily stored as body fat compared to the “good” fats.

Trans Fats - go through hydrogenation process; often used for commercial goods since they will hold their shape longer; Crackers, cookies and cakes; linked to triggering heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions
Good Fats
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fat - Both forms of unsaturated fats are known to be cardio protective as they lower the LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Common sources of monounsaturated fats are from nuts, avocados and olive oil, which is the best source. Oils high in monounsaturated fats (olive, corn, canola, grape seed) are the best to use for cooking; they are able to withstand high temperatures without becoming saturated or hydrogenated. Polyunsaturated fats are proven to be protective against insulin resistance (linked to diabetes). 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids - most commonly found in cold-water fish, Omega-3's are thought to be the best form of healthy fat. They have a number of health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, preventing cancer growth, improve brain function, and promoting cell integrity and fluidity. Omega 3's can also be found in flaxseeds and walnuts. 

How can you incorporate more good fats in your diet?

There are some easy ways to eliminate the unhealthy fats from your diet and increase your intake of good fats. Check out our tips below. 

Olive Oil - Swap out butter or vegetable oil for olive oil when cooking. Also great for dressing or marinades, as olive oil is the best source for monounsaturated fats!

Avocado - Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, which is easily burned for energy. Avocado's also contain twice as much potassium as a banana. Toss some in your salad, smoothie, or just have one as a mid day snack! 

Salmon - Salmon and other fatty fish are rich in Omega-3's and a great source of healthy fat. Swap out red meat or chicken on a sandwich with salmon and some avocado for a healthy, tasty tasty! 

Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, walnuts, raw cashews, pecans) - Use nuts or seeds as a snack during the day or as toppings on your baked goods rather than chocolate or candy pieces. 

Limit or eliminate fast foods, fried food, or other snacks containing trans fats - As mentioned above, trans fat can lead to a number of health conditions when consumed on a regular basis and in large quantities. Reduce your intake by limiting or eliminating the amount of fast, fried or unhealthy snacks (like cakes, cookies, and pre-packaged sweets) you have. 

Like we said before - any excess amount of fat in your diet will lead to unwanted results. However, choosing good fats and controlling your intake will result in a healthy, happy you! 
Resources:
www.bodybuilding.com - Good and Bad Fats: How Do We Balance Their Intake for Optimal Health

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