August 29, 2016

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All Fats Are Not Created Equal

All Fats Are Not Created Equal
All Fats Are Not Created Equal
By Maria England, ABS Team

There are three main macronutrients in our diet, which are Fat, Carbohydrates, and Protein, but the most controversial of the three is fat. Fat is the most talked about macronutrient because consuming too much not only causes weight gain, it can also lead to heart disease. One of the biggest misconceptions about fat though is that all fat is bad, but there are good fats. So what is the difference between good and bad fat and how much should we have in our diet?

The biggest reason to eat fewer foods that are high in fat is because it has more calories per gram than any other type of nutrient. For every gram of fat there are 9 calories, which is double the amount of calories per gram for both protein and carbohydrates. For every gram of carbohydrate and protein there are 4 calories. This means just cutting back on high fat foods will automatically reduce your calories! 

Even though fat is higher in calories it is still an essential part of our diet. There are vitamins and minerals that are found in foods that naturally have fat in them, such as Vitamin A in egg yolks. However, we do need to make sure we are not consuming too much fat. It is recommended to eat 20-35% of our total calories from fat. Often times we consume more than the recommended amount of fat on a daily basis due to eating high fat foods, such as fried foods and processed foods. The recommendation is to reduce foods that are high in fat and consume healthier fats, but what is the difference between unhealthy and healthy fats? 

Both categories of fat actually have the same amount of calories; the biggest difference is how our body processes them. Unhealthy fats actually increase our chances of developing heart disease, where as healthy fats have the potential of reducing our chances of developing heart disease and provide essential fatty acids like Omega-3s and vitamins. This is all depends on how the fats are processed in our bodies.

Saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol are the three unhealthy fats. They not only raise cholesterol, but they also raise the bad lipids in our body, LDL. Trans fats are even worse, because they raise cholesterol, LDL, and lower the good lipids in our body called HDL. Saturated fats can be found in fried foods, fast foods, and fats that are solid at room temperature, such as butter and are even in coconut oil. Cholesterol is only found in animal fats, such as butter and raises our cholesterol levels. We do not have to completely remove saturated fats from our diet, but it is recommended to eat less than 10% of your total diet from saturated fats. It is however recommended to not eat any trans fats and many companies have stopped using them as an ingredient.

Healthy fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Just switching to foods that contain unsaturated fats lowers your LDL and polyunsaturated fats can actually raise your HDL levels. Unsaturated fats are found in fats that are liquid at room temperature, fish, nuts, avocados, and soy products. Fatty fish, like salmon, contain unsaturated fats and also contain omega 3s, which is an essential fat, that helps lower our risk of hypertension and heart disease.

ABS Products do not contain any trans fats and they only contain 2-5g of fat, which is only 3-5% of your daily fat for the day if you are on a 2,000-calorie diet. It is also made with egg whites and unsweetened almond milk, which are low fat foods. Normal pancakes usually contain butter and whole eggs, which contain cholesterol and saturated fats, which makes them higher in unhealthy fats. ABS protein pancakes is a great meal to help decrease your fat intake for breakfast! 

The best advice is to eat a well balanced diet, with only 20-35% of your calories coming from fat. We can also eat a well balanced diet by focusing on eating healthier fats such as unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats. A great way to do this is by cooking with olive oil, which is an unsaturated fat instead of cooking with butter!


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