Fat. It’s a word that can make your body cringe and your skin crawl. However, the fat in your body and fat from your food play a crucial role in your daily diet and bodily function.
Both sources of fat supply the body with energy; allow the absorption of Vitamins A, D, E, and K; provide insulation and protection to your body’s organs and aid in weight loss.
When it comes to including fat in your diet, it is important to get in the habit of reading nutrition labels that will help you identify the foods that contain the correct fats for daily consumption.
The best type of fats to consume are mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated, found in foods like olive oil, avocados, nuts, fatty fish, and seeds. They help lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise your good cholesterol (HDL), which in return helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat, found in whole-milk dairy and fatty cuts of meat, should be limited in your diet.
Consumption of saturated fat may increase the risk of raising your bad cholesterol levels, and contribute to an increased risk of heart disease.
The one fat that should be avoided like the plague is trans fats. Trans fats are a double whammy of bad when consumed as they raise bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol, and can greatly increase the risk of heart disease.
Trans fats are chemically altered to have a longer shelf life and are commonly found in processed snacks and restaurants. Calories from “good” fat should ideally make up between 20 and 35 percent of your total calorie intake.
Based on a 2000-calorie diet that is between 44 and 78 grams daily.
When adding the appropriate fat in the right amount, your body will be able to use the good fat to burn bad fat and keep your stomach full. When you do not have fat in your diet, it becomes hard for your body to sustain the energy it takes to keep the metabolism properly functioning.
Fat will keep you full since it is not the easiest thing to digest. This means that it sticks around in your digestive system for a longer time than other nutrients, leading to feeling fuller longer.
Ryan Haughey B.S. CPT – ACE, SASTM is the fitness manager and personal trainer at the University Club of Michigan State University. Call him at (517) 353.5113.