Let's Get Down To The Fats

Posted at 8:47 pm on 07/23/2014 by Brandon McElroy

Can you name a 3-letter word that holds the same absolute disgusting power the word FAT does?  It’s how we describe the stubborn flab around our belly and thighs when we look in the mirror, it’s also an ugly descriptive word some use in malice to break people down; but did you know it could be used in the same sentence as “heart healthy?” As a whole, as a community, we need to ditch the common misconceptions and pay attention to the science and to the facts; that’s where Ocala Wellness comes in to action. Fats are not bad for you! The correct fats can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol, they can alleviate joint pain, and they even help your body absorb certain vitamins and nutrients. As with just about anything in nutrition, there are good versions of fats and there are bad versions of fats. Each category is further divided into 2 subcategories each; let’s start with the good fats first: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.


These heart healthy fats come mostly from vegetable and fish products- meaning they are liquid, not solid. The polyunsaturated fats are critical to maintain normal bodily functions and the kicker is our body cannot naturally produce them therefore we must consume them in our daily nutrition. Polyunsaturated fats are vital for blood clotting, muscle contraction/relaxation, and inflammation. The best part of these fats is they help lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) and also lower your triglycerides. Chances are if your recent blood work from your physician showed high cholesterol and triglycerides, you’re now on a pill to control those lipids- wouldn’t it be nice to naturally manage your body without pills? Research shows the polyunsaturated fats found in salmon, mackerel, flaxseeds, and walnuts can even treat heart disease and stroke. Vegetable oils such as safflower, soybean, sunflower, walnut, and corn oils also lower the risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats should be used to replace the other bad fats also known as trans fats and saturated fats. Avocados, smuckers natural peanut butter, olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil and most nuts should also be included in our daily nutrition plan.


            The two categories of fats you should try to consume very little of are saturated fats and trans fats. Both of these fats are solid at room temperature, unlike the above heart healthy fats. Food products such as butter, shortening, and even the marbleized fat in a steak are the fats we are now referring to. The saturated and trans fats drive your total cholesterol upward, increasing your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and also increasing the production of blockages in the coronary arteries, correspondingly known as heart disease. Trans fats naturally occur in meat, but are mainly found in the packaging of baked products like cookies, cakes, breads, and fast foods. Trans fats are even worse for you body than saturated fats; not only will they increase your bad LDL cholesterol but they also reduce your HDL (good cholesterol).  Unless you’re vegan, most everyone can enjoy a steak and I’m not telling you to completely eliminate red meat, I’m presenting you with the information to guide you to limit your trans fat consumption.


            Your body needs fat! Fat is a major energy source and also helps you absorb certain vitamins and minerals. In addition, remember the key to nutrition is MODERATION. Ideally, our fat consumption should be no more than 20-25% of the calories we consume on a daily basis. It’s very important to realize the health benefits from ingesting the correct fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Don’t go no fats, go good fats!



Monounsaturated fats:

Olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, avocados, olives, nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, cashews), peanut butter (without hydrogenated oils) 


Polyunsaturated fats:

Soybean oil, corn oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines, soymilk, tofu


Saturated fats:

High-fat meat cuts (beef, lamb, pork), chicken with the skin, butter, whole-fat dairy products, cheese, ice cream, lard, palm oil, coconut oil


Trans fats:

Pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough, packaged snack foods, stick margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods, candy bars 

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