Nutrition Notes: The Skinny on Fat

It’s time to put an old myth to bed. Eating fat will not make you fat! Consuming an excess amount of any type of calories can lead to weight gain and related health concerns.

Fat is an essential nutrient required for normal body function and is an important part of a healthy diet. Generally, fat should make up 20 to 35% of your total daily calories. However, moderation is key! Fat provides nine calories per gram and small amounts add up quickly. When selecting foods, it is wise to choose foods with healthy fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat. All fats are not created equal!

Incorporating healthy fats, such as polyunsaturated, omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, into your diet can decrease your risk of heart disease and promote heart health, whereas saturated and trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease and negatively affect your health. Foods high in healthy fats include plant-based oils, nuts, seeds and fish. Below are five tips to improve your fat intake and selection.

1. Use liquid plant-based oils for cooking and baking. Plant-based oils, such as olive or canola oil are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats.

2. Eliminate trans fat from your diet. Read food labels and choose foods that are trans fat free. Limit fried foods and baked goods that are often high in trans fat.

3. Switch from butter to soft margarine. Butter is high in saturated fat. Choose a product with zero grams of trans fat and no partially-hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list.

4. Eat good sources of omega-3 fatty acid. Include fatty fish (such as salmon or albacore tuna), walnuts, canola oil and flax seeds in your diet regularly.

5. Limit red meat. Beef, pork, and lamb are high in saturated fat, eat these meats in moderation. Opt for leaner protein sources more often such as chicken, fish, beans, and nuts.

What is your recommended daily fat intake? Click on the following link, Health Calculator, for further guidance on your recommended daily fat intake that will match your diet and lifestyle.

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