Lowdown on FAT
Fat has gotten a bad rap. Especially in the last 30 years when we saw an explosion in products that were “fat free” or “low fat” alternatives to traditional fats. These changes in the fats we eat have not been based on research. Healthy fats are a necessary part of a well-balanced and healthy diet. Research is telling us that it’s the kind of fats that leads to our body’s state of health, or disease. Here are some important things to know about fats.
- Recent dietary guidelines don’t put a limit on the total amount of fat that we should have in our diets. Fats should make up approximately 20-35% of your daily percentage of calories.
- Proper ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s are said to be somewhere around 1:1 to 1:5. The Standard American diet (SAD) can have as much as a 1:25 ratio, which shifts the body towards a state of inflammation.
- Servings of seafood per week should be from 2-5. Remember that smaller fish tend to have less toxicity.
- Choose grass-fed meat, free-range chicken, and organic whenever possible. These tend to have better healthy fat ratios and contain less hormones, pesticides, and chemicals.
- Cooking oils: choose Extra Virgin Olive Oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and sesame oil when possible. Do not heat above 350 degrees because it can damage their benefits.
- Avoid: vegetable oils, corn oils, and safflower oil.
Trans fats: These are bad and should be avoided. They are being removed in most foods. Look out for hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils because these are trans fats.
Saturated fats: These are now considered neutral fats. It is still important to not get too much of your dietary calories from these types of fat.
Monounsaturated fats: These fats can help lower cholesterol in the blood. Use these in your diet.
Polyunsaturated fats: These are omega-3’s and omerga-6’s. Try to get a 1:1 ratio of these.
Omega-3’s: These are the Anti-Inflammatory fats. Eat more of them!
Omega-6’s: These are the PRO- inflammatory fats. Eat less of them!
Fat- free: This usually means highly processed food. They may be full of sugar and starch to make them taste better. They are pro-inflammatory.
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Remember that this information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.
The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Simopoulos AP.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-79. Review.
LA Times “The Skinny On Fat” – Paula Spencer Scott