Fat is a dirty 3 letter word – right? Not always! There are healthy fats, and you need to be sure you’re getting them. Fat is the carrier of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K; is a source of energy to fuel your workouts and everyday life activities; and, because it stays in your stomach longer, makes you feel fuller longer. Just avoid the bad fats and concentrate on the healthy fats.
Trans Fat – the one to avoid completely whenever possible. Trans fat is made (yes, they do this on purpose) in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oils to make them more solid. It’s cheap to make, adds taste, and can be used over & over again – making it profitable. A lot of fast food places use them for french fries, among other things. Trans fat increases LDL (bad cholesterol), lowers HDL (good cholesterol), increases heart attacks and strokes, and even increases the risk of type II diabetes. It’s outlawed in several countries and some states.
Saturated Fat – the one to keep a sharp eye on, depending where you’re getting it from. Too much saturated fat causes cholesterol to build up in your arteries. Fried foods, butter, ice cream, bacon, cake, doughnuts are examples; just be sure to read your labels to watch for this. Steaks (a great source of protein) have saturated fats in them. However, this is where the “depending where you’re getting it from” parts comes in. Here’s a quick comparison of 4 types of steaks – well, 3 actually and then liver. But liver is meat nonetheless, and a LOT more nutritious for you than you probably realize. These are all using a 4 oz serving.
- NY Strip – 29 grams protein / 19 grams fat / 8 of those 19 grams saturated fat
- Ribeye – 25 grams protein / 32 grams fat / 14 of those 32 grams saturated fat
- Filet Mignon – 48 grams protein / 12 grams fat / 4 of those 12 grams saturated fat
- Beef Liver – 23 grams protein / 4 grams fat / 1.5 of those 4 grams saturated fat
Polyunsaturated Fat – a good one. This fat has a tendency to lower blood cholesterol levels. Another good thing about these fats is that they are typically associated with lots on vitamin E, which many of us need.
Monounsaturated Fat – another good one. This also has a tendency to lower blood cholesterol levels, but it also maintains HDL (good cholesterol).
- LDL – Low Density Lipoproteins – (bad cholesterol) – major carrier of cholesterol and other lipids in the blood.
- HDL – High Density Lipoproteins – (good cholesterol) – carry lipids away from storage and to the liver for metabolism and/or excretion. They are associated with the removal of cholesterol.
Please be sure to read the labels. I hope this helps you better understand the “fat” section of those labels!