Written by Karen Bevers, Nutrition Counselor – Camp Shane CA
Contrary to popular belief, fat is a necessary component of any diet and also provides many benefits. The AMDR (Appropriate Macronutrient Distribution Range) recommends that 20-35% diet comes from fat.
What are the benefits of eating fat?
Fat is the most efficient form for storing energy for future use. It provides padding for the skeleton and vital organs and also provides insulation. Fat is important for skin health and helps maintain loss of body temperature. Fat is needed to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Some fats are considered essential fatty acids – which means our bodies cannot generate them, but they are vital for life. These are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They can be found in fatty fish, nuts and seeds – and are important in skin health, brain health and most importantly reduce inflammation in the body helping to prevent many diseases.
What are the different types of fat?
Unsaturated – This type of fat comes from plants and fish and is the healthiest form of fat. It can be found in avocados, vegetable oils, peanut butter, fatty fish, nuts and seeds.
Saturated – This type of fat comes from animal products and should be consumed in moderation because it is associated with risk of heart disease. Less than 10% of our diet should be from saturated fat.
Trans – This type of fat comes is found in processed foods. It is unhealthy because our bodies do not know how to process these man-made fats. You should strive t eliminate or consume as little as possible trans-fat.
It’s easy to make healthy choices and opt for healthier, leaner fats. For example, opt for low fat cheese rather than a full fat one. Also, you can use lean cuts of meat and broil, bake, or grill them instead of fry them. Finally when baking, you should replace at least half of the oil with applesauce. This is a great way to cut fat without cutting taste!
The Camp Shane Team