Fat. It’s not all bad. In fact, it’s necessary for us to live. There are three macronutrients that our bodies need to keep running: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Fatty acids keep our skin soft, deliver vitamins, and energy. In fact, the Recommended Dietary Guidelines say that we should be having 20-35% of our caloric intake to be from fat. There is a trick, though. There are bad fats and good fats.
Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
There are two groups of fats: saturated and unsaturated. The good fats, are the unsaturated fats, the polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. These can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce our risk for heart disease. The most important polyunsaturated fat is omega-3 fatty acids. We can increase our intake with fish or walnuts. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for our heart and joints. Monounsaturated fats can be increased with olive oil, avocados, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and many more. It is a heart healthy fat and high in vitamin E. The bad fats, the saturated fats can increase our risk of colon and prostate cancer. Saturated fats can be found in animal products and vegetable fats. Trans fat is mostly found in artificial foods or processed foods that tend to be found in the convenient packaging type foods. Trans fat can increase our cholesterol and increase our risk for heart disease.
Our diet should be a balanced one. Eliminating bad fats is basically impossible, but reducing our fat in general can cause us to be healthier. Choosing olive oil over margarine can even be beneficial.