Dietary Fat 101
With the rise in popularity of ketogenic and low carb diets, fat is no longer as demonized as it once was. However, it is still common to read that fatty foods cause heart disease and that eating eggs will raise your cholesterol.
So is fat healthy? The answer to this question depends on the quality and quantity of the fats you consume.
In this blog, we’ll explain why dietary fat is essential and the best types of fat to eat to support health and longevity.
Is fat healthy?
Dietary fat is an important part of a healthy diet. Eating fat is essential for key processes such as hormone production, immune response, cell creation, and absorption of vitamins. It plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair and supports stable blood sugar and energy levels. Fat is highly-satiating, helping you stay full for longer. It also tastes great!
However, the quality of fat is important to consider when weighing up the health benefits of fat. Not all fats are created equally!
What are the different types of fat?
There are two types of fat: saturated and unsaturated.
Saturated fat is found in meat, milk, cheese, and other animal products.
Unsaturated fat includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are found in higher proportions in fish, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil, avocado oil, and canola oil.
Trans fats are also a kind of unsaturated fat. They are found in hydrogenated oils and highly-processed foods like pastries, chips, and fried foods.
Dietary guidelines recommend avoiding trans fats, keeping saturated fats at 10% or less of daily calories, and prioritizing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
To summarize, there is a big difference between the quality of fat coming from avocado, grass-fed meat, and olive oil, when compared to the fat in a fast-food cheeseburger, conventionally farmed meat and soybean oil. The quality of fat you consume will determine whether your body can use it as healthy fuel, or whether it will create an unhealthy inflammatory response.
How much fat should I eat?
This is where things get a little bit more complex! Dietary guidelines suggest that approximately 20-35% of your daily caloric intake should come from fat. However, some people have great health and success with more, and some do better with less.
Dietary fat intake is highly personalized, and while prioritizing higher-order unsaturated fats is a good rule of thumb, exactly how much avocado and salmon you should eat will depend on your goals, ability to digest fat, satiety, energy, preferences, and genetics.
This personalization doesn’t stop with how much fat you eat. For the best results, you need an individualized approach to your exercise, lifestyle, and nutrition. Find an OPEX Gym near you and start your personalized fitness journey today.