Commandment #6: YOU NEED TO EAT HEALTHY FATS
Fat is an important part of your diet because it provides energy, helps absorb fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) found in cell membranes, helps insulates your body and organs among other things. There are three types of dietary fat – unsaturated, saturated and trans fatty acids. Each type of fat plays a different role in the body, some are beneficial and some are not.
Unsaturated Fatty Acids. Unsaturated fatty acids are the healthy fats that are an important part of our diet. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. There are two types of unsaturated fatty acids – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs): MUFAs may help lower your total “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and maintain or increase your “healthy” HDL (high lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. Also, research has shown MUFAs may help lower your risk of heart disease and normalize blood clotting.
Sources of MUFAs: olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs): PUFAs may help lower the risk of heart disease, may protect against type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other age related brain decline. There are two classifications of PUFAs: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are essential fats because our body cannot make them.
• Omega 3 fatty acids: Two crucial types of omega 3’s are – DHA (docosahexaenoic acid and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). They are primarily found in certain fish. Some plant sources also contain omega 3’s but this plant form is called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA is a precursor to DHA and EPA in the body.
– Sources of DHA and EPA: fatty fish (anchovies, salmon, mackerel, herring, mackeral)
– Sources of ALA: chia seeds, flax seed meal, walnuts, most seeds and nuts, and vegetable oils such as flaxseed, canola and soybean oil. Go for GMO free oils.
• Omega 6 fatty acids: sources such as corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, nuts and seeds. The America Heart Association recommends consuming at least 5% to 10% of food calories come from omega-6 fatty acids.
Saturated Fat. This type of fat is considered “unhealthy” because it may increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to MayoClinic. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. There are about 24 different saturated fats. They are categorized into three classifications – short, medium and long chain. Not all of them are equally bad for your health. According to Dr. Mercola, “your body needs some amount of saturated fat to stay healthy. It is virtually impossible to achieve a nutritionally adequate diet that has no saturated fat.” Just keep in mind too much saturated fat and the wrong kind is what is detrimental to our health. American Heart Association recommends, consume less than 7% of your calories come from saturated fats. Sources of saturated fats include: tropical oils (coconut and palm oil), dairy products, meat, and organ meat, just to name a few.
Trans Fat. This is the most unhealthful type of fat because it can increase both your “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease your “healthy” HDL cholesterol, thus increasing your risk of heart disease. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, for every 2-percent increase in daily calories from trans fat, risk of coronary heart disease increases by 23 percent! There are no set guidelines for trans fat consumption. However, the American Heart Association advises to avoid or limit trans fat to less than 1% of daily caloric intake. For example, one gram of fat has 9 calories, so an example of 1% recommended intake looks like this:
2,000 calorie diet, 20 calories or 2 grams or less of trans fat/day
1,500 calorie diet, 15 calories or 1.5 grams or less of trans fat/day
Don’t be fooled by those labels that advertise, “0 Trans Fats!” Read the nutrition facts label and ingredient list. The FDA allows food manufacturer’s to label their products “ zero trans fat” as long as one serving is less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. Start reading ingredient labels. Look for partially hydrogenated oils. Most trans fat in the average American’s diet comes from commercially baked goods, margarine, snack foods, fried foods and other processed foods.
The bottom line is that “good fats” are an integral part of heart-healthy diets, especially when they replace the unhealthy saturated and trans fats in our diets. Fat is important part of our diet, it provides essential fatty acids to help support heart and brain health, helps deliver fat soluble vitamins and is a source of energy. Goal is to consume 10-30% of your total calories from healthy fats per day.
7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fats
American Heart Association
Dietary Fats: Know Which Ones to Choose
Fat and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad in with the Good
Nuts make a great every day snack. It’s a great way to sneak some healthy fat into your diet, but watch the portions. Fat contains 9 calories for every gram compared to protein and carbs which contain 4 calories per one gram. Fat is a more concentrated source of energy, so watch the portions.
Buy raw nuts in bulk at the health food store or at Costco. Eat them as is or try this cinnamon vanilla coated nut recipe below. Nuts are high in manganese, copper, magnesium phosphorus and zinc. So eat up!
Servings: 16/ Serving Size: ¼ cup
Weight Watcher points plus: 5 pts
Calories: 188/ protein: 6.5 g/ carbs: 6 g/ Fiber: 2 g/ Sugars: 1 g/ Total fat: 16.5 g/ saturated fat: 2.8 g/ monounsaturated fat: 7.5 g/ polyunsaturated fat: 6.2 g
• 4 cups of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.)
• 1 egg white
• 2 Tbsp of water
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon – or more!
• ¼ cup of vanilla whey protein – optional
• 2 packets of stevia in the raw or you can use ¼ cup of your choice of sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment paper.
3. Place mixed nuts in a medium bowl.
4. In a small bowl, add egg whites, water, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Mix well and pour over the nuts. Using your hands or spatula to coat the nuts.
5. Add one packet of stevia (or half of the sugar), half of the whey vanilla protein and the salt, stirring well into the nuts coated with egg white mixture.
6. Spread onto the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, making sure to stir the peanuts on the edges in to prevent burning.
7. Let cool for 2-3 minutes and then stir the peanuts, scraping the honey from the silpat to coat the peanuts.
8. Sprinkle with 1 packet of stevia (or remaining sugar), add the remaining whey protein; stir again.
9. Taste and sample one nut, add more cinnamon or more stevia (sugar) to taste. Let cool completely. Before storing in an airtight container. Yields 4 cups.