We need fat in the diet. It is a necessary nutrient that we cannot live without. It helps the body use vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat is necessary for healthy skin and body organs. It also helps you to feel full after eating. After a low fat meal, you will be hungrier sooner.
With this in mind though, too much fat in the diet can lead to health problems such as heart disease, some types of cancer and obesity. All fats are not created equal. Knowing the difference can be helpful in controlling cholesterol as well as weight.
Saturated fat comes from animal products. This is the type that is solid at room temperature. Butter, chicken fat hardened on the top of soup, cheese and milk all contain saturated fat. Too much of this in the diet causes cholesterol to accumulate in the arteries. When this happens, blood flow becomes restricted and heart attacks and strokes become more of a possibility. It’s the saturated fat you need to reduce in your diet to stay healthy.
Unsaturated fat comes from foods like nuts, seeds, fish, vegetable oil, avocados and olives. This type of fat can help the saturated fat move through your body so it is actually good for you.
We need fat in the diet so choose unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat.
Keep in mind that all fats are higher in calories than carbohydrates and protein. The total fat in your diet should be no more than 30% of the daily intake of calories.
Here are five tips to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet:
- Eat low fat dairy products and lean meats
- Choose vegetable oils and shortening instead of lard
- When making soup, put the pot in the refrigerator overnight and skim the fat off the top in the morning.
- Check the serving sizes of cheese and meat and measure just that amount
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
You need fat for a healthy and strong body. As with most aspects of healthy eating, balance, variety and moderation is the key.