Updated: Sep 4, 2019
Dietary fats are a concentrated form of energy and an essential nutrient which forms part of each cell membrane to help protect body tissues and organs. Fats also play an essential role in carrying fat-soluble vitamins and contribute to the absorption of some phytochemicals.
Although fat is higher in energy than other macronutrients, not all fats are created equal. There are different types of fats, with some being healthier than others. To stay healthy aim to have the majority of fat from unsaturated fat sources.
Although past trends have encouraged us to eliminate fat from our diets, more recent studies have shown that they are essential for growth and development.
Saturated fat, which is mostly found in animal sources such as meats, eggs and whole milk products and pies, bisucits, cakes, pasteries. It is also found in some oils such as coconut, palm and palm kernel, and cocoa. Recent studies have varied on how much is necessary, but this type of fat should be consumed less than most other fats.
Polyunsaturated fats are commonly found in vegetables and most fish. The essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 belong in this category. Omega-3 are extremely vital as it aids as an anti-inflammatory and an inhibitor of cell proliferation. Always aim for a ratio of 15:1 for omega-3 to omega-6.
Monosaturated fats can be found in foods such as avocados, olives and some seeds and nuts. Diets higher in this type of fat found to be one of the reasons of lower levels of heart disease due to its being lower in cholesterol.
<h3>How much fat should I eat?</h3>
Like all nutrients, all fats are essential. A reduction of saturated and an uptake in polyunsaturated, especially omega-3, should be considered. Roughly 30% of your total caloric intake should come from fats. This may vary depending on body composition goals.
However, some people become fat-phobic and aim for a low or zero target. But now that we know that the consumption of good fats is essential to protect from various diseases, it's evident that we should consider its inclusion.
The energy value of fats is 37 kilojoules per gram.
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