What is a Fat?

aIn our last blog post “What Is A Carb” we set the foundation for a nutrition series. We went over and explained the following definitions nutrition, calorie, nutrient, macronutrient, and micronutrient. 

Then we went into what a carb is and cleared the air for you. If you have not read that blog, click the button below and check it out!

In today’s blog post we will be covering fat, what is a fat? Fat or lipids, are one of our three macronutrients. 

Fat is essential to our health as it plays a major role in the maintenance of body functions. For example, some vitamins are fat soluble. This means that fat is needed in order for our body to properly use those vitamins. 

There are a few different types of fats, there are saturated and unsaturated fats. We want to stay away from saturated fats in excess. However, most unsaturated fats are good for us, except trans fats. This has to do with how the molecule is bonded together on a microbiology level. 

Our body simply does not know how to process saturated and trans fats and therefore messes with the systems of our body. 

How do we know if our food has trans fat in it? Well for starters, if you’re eating real food, meaning it is not packaged and does not have a food label, then you’re good, no trans fats. 

However if we are looking at a food label and we see the ingredient “partially hydrogenated”, then we want to stay away from that particular food product. 

So next time you are at the grocery store and you are looking at a food label and see saturated fat, trans fats or partially hydrogenated, pick something els. These particular types of fats have been shown to result in weight gain and an increased risk in cardiovascular disease. 

The fats that are better for our health are primarily unsaturated fats called monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, such as canola oil, olive oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, and corn oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods like salmon, tuna, trout, flaxseed, walnuts and chia seeds. 

These “healthy fats” have been shown to decrease risk of weight gain and cardiovascular disease. They are also an integral part in maintaining proper bodily functions. 

Instead of cutting fat out of your diet completely in an effort to lose fat, try paying attention to which kinds of fat you are eating. More good fat (unsaturated) less bad fat (saturated and trans).

As always, we are not telling you to never eat another saturated fat again. We are looking for a healthy, sustainable balance. If you need help finding that balance in your nutritional habits, click the link below for a free intro call with one of our nutrition coaches.