fat is good for you!
It is! If it is the right kind. Like carbs, there is more than one type of fat; in fact, there are plenty, and no matter what, you need fat in your diet. Fat allows for better vitamin absorption, especially vitamins A, D, E, and K. Your brain is approximately two-thirds fat, and needs fat to function. Eating the right kinds of fat can actually prevent you from accumulating body fat. Certain fats can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It can even lower the risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer. Also, your skin actually gets better with certain fat intake. So, sign me up for burgers and fries with a milkshake? Not so fast.
The big baddie is saturated fat. Saturated fat, or “solid fat”, is the fat you can see. When looking for a tasty steak, one thing you look for is marbling, which is a higher fat content, which when cooked properly, gives steak its to-die-for taste. It also contributes to heart disease and cancer. The choice is yours! Sources of saturated fats include high-fat cuts of meat, high-fat cheeses, whole milk and cream, butter, ice cream, and palm and coconut oils. The recommendation is that no more than 10% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat, so our mythical figure on his 2000 calorie diet should take in no more than 200 calories, or 22g of saturated fat/day. I personally think this is still too much, and try to avoid it as much as possible.
The good fat are the unsaturated fats: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, blah blah blah. The differences is not really important. So where do we find these good fats that we should be using to make up our daily fat intake? Nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, and fish. You hear so much about omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and they are what make up our polyunsaturated group. They are good for everything listed in the first paragraph, and you should not shy away from taking them in.
So, take home message from this topic: avoid your solid fats like butter, fatty meats, and stuff with cream in it. Look for leaner cuts of meat, or trim the fat from the meat if you cook your own. Switch to skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk. But do not cut fats out entirely! Things that you should incorporate into your daily diet are stuff like almonds and walnuts for snacks, using natural nut butters, using extra virgin olive oil, eating fish like salmon, and eating avocados.