The Facts on Fat

Despite what has seemed like a two-decade-long war against fat in food, the truth is that your body needs dietary fat for a multitude of reasons.  It gives you energy for now and stored energy for later, helps your body absorb important nutrients, produces hormones, protects organs, and keeps you warm.  Americans’ real issue with fat is over-consumption.  Fat should make up between one-quarter to one-third of you daily calorie intake and should be comprised of plant fats, like canola, vegetable, and olive oils, nuts, seeds and avocado.

There are four major types of fat: Saturated, trans, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.  They differ in their chemical structure, their source and how they affect the body.  A simplified way to understand fat is that the less-healthful fats are animal derived and solid at room temperature- think butter, lard and the fat on meat and poultry.  The more healthy fats are plant- and seafood- derived and liquid at room temperature like olive oil.  High intakes of saturated and trans fat are linked to increased heart disease and stroke risk while moderate intakes of unsaturated fats, especially olive and fish oils, are linked to decreased heart disease risk and improved cholesterol levels.  Every type of fat contains 9 calories per gram.  So although the cardiac health effects may differ, a food with 12 grams of fat has 108 calories from fat no matter if the fat is saturated or unsaturated.  It is important to note that a food labeled “trans-fat-free” does not mean it is fat-free, or even saturated fat-free, and such a label is no indication of a food’s healthfulness.

In Williamson Hospitality kitchens you will not find any artificial trans-fats.  Our chefs cook with a variety of vegetable, canola and olive oils and always attempt to achieve the perfect flavor and health balance.

 

Published by Anna Bullett, MS, RD, on August 4th, 2011 at 9:00 am. Filled under: Fat,Health,nutritionNo Comments

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