A little knowledge is dangerous. Cutting out fats from our diets because they are ‘bad’ is a perfect example of that.
Not all fats are bad, according to the American Heart Association.
Proper dietary guidelines say that fully 30% of our daily food calories intake should be in the form of fats. Also, 30% should be protein and 40% carbohydrates. So, fat is equally as important to us as protein.
Granted there are good fats and bad fats. The good fats serve important functions in our bodies. Life Clinic says, “Fat is the body’s major energy storage system. When the energy from the food you eat and drink can’t be used by your body, the body may turn it into fat for later use. Your body uses fat from foods for energy, to cushion organs and bones, and to make hormones and regulate blood pressure. Some fat is also necessary to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, so you shouldn’t cut all fat out of your diet.”
Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble, meaning they can only be digested, absorbed and transported in conjunction with fats, according to Wikipedia. Lastly, they suppress hunger and they are needed for hormones.
Fats are the highest source of energy providing 9 calories per gram, vs protein and carbohydrates, each of which yields 4 calories per gram.
Saturated fats are hard, white and solid and many are not great for us as they raise our blood cholesterol levels. These are fats which we should try to limit our intake of. The American Heart Association says no more than 7% of our daily calorie intake should be in the form of saturated fats. At present the average American consumes 15%.
An important exception is coconut oil. Not all saturated fats are alike and more importantly, some saturated fats, including coconut oil, are extremely good for you. As I wrote in my Page – Coconut Oil – Why You Should Include it in Your Diet ,”Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) as opposed to the long chain fatty acids (LCFA) found in most oil in our diets. Coconut oil is easy on the digestive system, requiring minimal digestion. It travels immediately to the liver to be converted into energy. It doesn’t circulate in the body and end up being stored as fat. So for a quick energy boost, eat a spoonful of coconut oil or add it to your food.”
Trans fats are unsaturated vegetable oils that food manufacturers try to make more solid so that the food cooked in it lasts longer. Muffins and cookies are a good example of this. Trans fats contribute to heart disease and since 2006, the public has been made aware of them and manufacturers have cut down on their usage.
Good dietary practice would be to cut back on the consumption of steak which has upwards of 50 grams of fat and substitute chicken which has less than 20 grams.