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Some fat is needed for a healthy diet
Stop by the Health 1st Wellness Wednesday
table between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Children’s Hospital
lobby to receive information on nutrition and fat intake.
Contrary to popular belief, fat isn’t all bad. It is important for
people to consume some fat, but, of course, not too much. Also, there
are some fats that are better than others.
Why do I need fat?
Absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, E, D, and K can only be
absorbed in the presence of fat. Just like other vitamins and
minerals, these perform important functions in the body.
- Insulation and protection. Body organs are surrounded in a
layer of fat to protect them and keep them insulated.
- Hair and skin. Fat is a major component of cells, so
having enough helps keep the internal and external cells healthy.
How much fat do I need?
- Hormones, etc. Fat is a component of many things such
as hormones, bile, and lipoproteins.
It’s not hard to get enough, since fat has more than double the
calories of carbohydrate and protein: 1 gram of fat = 9 calories; 1
gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories; 1 gram of protein = 4 calories.
The latest research states that 30 percent of the calories should come
from fat. When determining what that means, don’t forget that fat has
nine calories per gram. Here’s an example: 2,000 calories X
0.30 = 600: 600/9 = 67 grams of fat per day.
To be more specific, we shouldn’t get more than 10 percent of our
calories from saturated fat . Therefore, using the example above: 2,000
calories X 0.10 = 200: 200/9 = 22 grams of saturated fat per day.
What are the different
fats; where do they come from?
- Cholesterol—should be limited to no more than 300 mg per
day; made in the liver and found only in animal products;
- Saturated fat—too much can raise cholesterol levels in the
blood; should be limited to no more than 10 percent of calories; mainly
found in fats that are solid: butter, lard, animal fats, anything deep
fried and dairy made from whole milk;
- Trans fat—can raise LDL cholesterol levels; should be
limited to zero grams per day; mostly found in packaged and prepared
- Monounsaturated fat—can lower LDL cholesterol levels;
mainly found in plant sources of fat such as avocado, nuts,canola oil,
olives and olive oil, peanuts and peanut butter;
- Polyunsaturated fat—can help lower total cholesterol
levels; mainly found in plant sources of fat such as soft (tub)
margarine, corn oil and walnuts;
What can happen if I get
too much fat?
- Essential fatty acids—the body cannot make these on its
own, so fatty acids must come from the foods eaten and can help keep
artery clogging in check.Fatty acids can be found in fatty fish
(salmon, mackerel, herring) walnuts, flaxseed,
flaxseed oil, canola oil and soybean products.
Obviously, due to the high level of calories in fat, too much weight
can be gained. This isn’t specific to fat, since we can gain
weight from getting too much of anything, including carbohydrate and
protein. Too much fat, especially saturated and trans fat can cause
plaque in the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and/or stroke.
In summary, it's important to consume fat, but be careful about how
much, and the sources of that fat.
Friday, Sept. 19, 2008
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