Do you know which macro-nutrients are the most misunderstood?
Because of the world's fascination with dieting and weight loss, fats have gained a negative stigma. Most people think it is fundamental when dieting to cut fats from their daily intake, but this is wrong. Fats play a vital role in the functioning of the body!
Rather than looking down on fats, look at them as Tosca Reno, author of the "Clean Eating" series, does: "look at them as giving you your ‘color' or personality, your humor and sex drive" (Reno 28).
Aside from the negative aspect of fats that we are all too familiar with, let us look at the benefits:
- Fats are the densest form of stored energy. Gram to gram, fats can produce more than twice the energy in calories than a carbohydrate or protein.
- Consumption of a healthy diet that includes polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) is important to maintain cardiovascular, cognitive and immune health (Calder).
- This macro also "helps in the transportation of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K" (Reno 28).
- Fats keep you satiated (satisfied, as one's appetite or desire).
- These are also great in small doses as they play a role in bone and hormone production.
As you can see, they have their perks. Who would have guessed?
As you can imagine, choosing the right types of fats makes a world of difference between a regular eater and a clean eater. I am going to guess and assume that when you think of fat, you think of the nasty grease dripping off a cheeseburger or standing on a slice of pizza.
The healthy fats I'm thinking of "can be found in whole eggs, salmon, flax and chia seeds, grass-fed bison, venison or beef, cold-pressed butter and some types of cheeses" (Reno 28). Other healthy fats include the following:
- Monounsaturated fats – almonds, natural nut butter, olive oil and avocados.
- 8Polyunsaturated fats – tuna, salmon, walnuts and canola oil.
- Saturated fats – coconut oil and animal fat.
Now that this misunderstood macro has grabbed your attention, it is time to start making a few changes. This time of year is packed with BBQs and social events; attending these gatherings do not have to be entirely unhealthy. "Choose and prepare festive foods that are higher in healthy fats and go light on the starches and sweets" (Kleiner 75).
If you are familiar with batch cooking, make sure you include fats when meal prepping. Make sure you plan your meals ahead of time so you know fats are included. An easy place to start would be eggs for breakfast and choosing a fattier salad dressing; or, include nuts or seeds on your salads, in yogurt or a good nut butter.
Where do you stand in regards to your fat consumption? Are you guilty of cutting fat completely from your diet? Do you eat too much of it? Or, are you just right? What changes can you make for the better?
Calder, P., A. Dangour, C. Diekman, and A. Eilander. "Essential Fats for Future Health. Proceedings of the 9th Unilever Nutrition Symposium, 26-27 May 2010." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1-13 64 (2010): n. pag. Print.
Kleiner, Susan, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN. "Prevent Holiday Weight Gain." Fitness Rx Dec. 2012: 74-75. Print.
Reno, Tosca. "The Skinny on Fats." Clean Eating Nov.-Dec. 2012: 28-29. Print.