In my last nutrition class we talked about fats. Yup, some of our worst nightmares, no? But actually, we need some fat in our diet to be healthy. Here is what I learned.
Characteristics of Fat
- Fat is hydrophobic, meaning it doesn’t like water. This is why oils and water don’t mix.
- Fat enhances the flavor of food.
- Fat makes meat tender when cooked.
- Fat provides calories and energy at 9 calories per gram.
- Fat slows down digestion and leads to satiety (feeling full)
Fat is also known as Triglycerides and can vary in degree of saturation.
- Saturated – the bad fats which usually comes from animal sources and is in the form of a solid. Saturated fat is also the fat that when eaten increases your LDL Cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and decreases your HDL (good cholesterol).
- Unsaturated – the healthy form of fat which is usually in liquid form of oils like canola and vegetable oils. This fat is the fat that decreases your LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases your HDL (good cholesterol).
Avoid Trans Fats
Trans fats are the fats put into processed food to make it last long (longer shelf life) and taste better. It is also a saturated fat so it increases your LDL and decreases your HDL cholesterol.
Our body can make cholesterol, so it does not need to be a part of our diet. It usually comes from saturated fat found in animal products and the American Dietary Guidelines say we need no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day.
Some ways to get healthy fats in your diet:
- Vegetable and canola oils