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We are on the last stretch of macronutrients! Today we will be discussing the notorious fats!
Many people give fats a bad reputation but they are actually really important for the human body. Too much is what gets people in trouble. But that’s just like everything in life. Unlike carbohydrates, fats provide a slow energy. They are 9kcal/g which is double carbs and protein’s amount of 4kcal/g. Fats should also be around 20-35% of diet. So between the 45-65% for carbs and the 10-35% for proteins, it’s all about finding the right balance between these percentages.
Fats are important despite the bad reputation they have. They not only provide long-term storage but also provide appearance, flavor, emulsification, texture, and mouthfeel. In terms of appearance, fats are responsible for the shine in chocolate and the color of carrots. For flavor, fats help determine the flavor and aroma of food. For emulsification, this is especially prevalent in phospholipids in the human body. Texture provides the tenderness, flakiness, lubrication, creaminess, grittiness, and smoothness in foods. For mouthfeel, fats allow for the mouth coating and cooling in the mouth when you chew foods.
There are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated fats. Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that are now illegal in the United States due to their adverse effects on the human body.
Most meats excluding fish are saturated fats if you are someone who eats. Other dairy products and processed foods also have saturated fats. These are the fats that you do not want too much of otherwise it has a chance of being lethal. The important thing about saturated fats if you are going to eat them is to keep them limited.
Your fish, nuts, avocado, and some of your cooking oils have unsaturated fats. Note, coconut oil is NOT an unsaturated fat. There are two types of unsaturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature with the exception olives and avocados.
Polyunsaturated fats are apart of the essential amino acids. We have the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Some sources of omega 3 include salmon. Some sources of omega 6 include plants, seeds, and vegetable and seed oils.
One thing to be careful about with fats is the smoke point. Fats do not boil, they just start producing smoke. Olive oil is good when you need to cook something at a lower temperature. Avocado oil is better when you want to cook something at 300 degrees or higher. The key is to look that label and determine how much you cook and which one if not both will meet your needs.
Be careful of fad diets like bullet coffee. If you don’t know what bullet coffee is, it is black coffee with butter and coconut oil in it. The point in drinking it is to prevent someone from feeling hungry. While this does work, it is not meant for people that are stationary. If you are going to on a long hike up a mountain or going to be active all day, it is great. It was not intended to be something used in the typical American diet. The same thing goes for coconut oil. A coconut farmer sponsored the study that claimed that coconut was healthy. So, why would any scientist say that the food from their sponsors is unhealthy?
Let’s also throw in supplements. There is no FDA oversight which means there is no regulation. For fish oils, you don’t know which fish they used or if it has a lot of mercury or if it even has any fish oil in it at all. In addition, you don’t know which Omega-3 fatty acid in it.
The overall message when reading about foods and fats is to be careful. Sometimes something works for one person or one culture but it doesn’t work in another.
That’s it for this week! See you next time!