Eat Fats That Give Something Back

24-7 partner API talks nutrition in this most recent article

When people are asked what they think of when they hear the word "fat," many negative connotations come to mind. "You are what you eat," according to the popular saying, and if you eat fat, you are going to be fat. Food products advertised as "low in fat" or "fat free" have became food staples in the home, but as these products were reduced in their fat content during manufacture, other non beneficial ingredients were added like sugar and thickeners. 

Fats are critical to good health, releasing energy slowly and the transport of vitamins throughout the body for absorption. Fats also provide powerful nutrients and antioxidants for cellular repair of joints, organs, skin, and hair.

Not all fats are great for you and too much of anything can lead to additional body fat.  It is recommended that 20-30% of total calories come from fat. Types of fat include: unsaturated fat, essential fatty acids, saturated fat, and lastly trans fats. 

We want to strive to include unsaturated fats especially essential fatty acids in the food we eat each day.  When you think about what fats you should be eating, remember the saying: "eat fat that gives something back."  Fats that don't give much back are saturated fats and trans fats.  We want to consume a   moderate amount of saturated fat (contained in animal products) and avoid trans fats completely.

Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated fats would be listed on the label as mono or poly unsaturated fats.  They are also healthy fats but also should be consumed in moderation.  Nuts, corn oil, canola oil, sunflower and safflower oil are all included in this category.    

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats come from animal sources: meat, dairy, eggs, cheese.  Saturated fat should be consumed moderately because excessive amounts have been shown to lead to heart disease. 

Trans fats

Trans fats are to be avoided because they are artery clogging and pro inflammatory.   If you eat fresh prepared food, you eat minimal or no trans fats.  If you eat  many packaged foods or "gas station food" you may be taking in large amounts of trans fats.  Other places to find trans fats:

·         Buttered popcorn-some microwavable pop corn can have up to 4 grams of trans fats!!!

·         Fried food

·         Packaged food items-that stay soft on the shelf for years

You can be sure you are not eating trans fats by looking at the nutrition facts on a package.  The nutrition label will not always reveal if the product contains trans fats.  The FDA only requires the product to have more than .5g of trans fats to list it on the label.  By looking at the ingredients of the product, you can find partially hydrogenated oils or fractionated oils, and this will indicate the product contains trans fats.

Table 1. Ranking of fats / Table 2Healthy fat Snacks:

Type of fat



Essential fats and unsaturated fats

First choice

fish, fish oils, flax,  Nuts, seeds, olive oil

 Saturated fats

 Second Choice

Chose chicken or turkey more often which will have less saturated fat than beef or pork

When you do choose beef, go for leaner cuts. Grass fed beef would be the healthiest.  Anything labeled loin or round is leaner, also flank and NY strip, The seven leanest cuts are: eye round, top round, round tip, top sirloin, bottom round, top loin, and tenderloin.

 Trans fats

Avoid at all costs!

Packaged items or "gas station food,"  fried foods, anything with partially hydrogenated oils or fractionated oils


Pb and j

Pb and banana

Branch out and try almond butter with your crackers

Apple and ¼ cup of walnuts

Bread with a 1tsp of olive oil

Celery and pb

Trail mix with dried fruit

Sunflower seeds and an orange

Guacamole and chips


Try to add these to your daily intake by having them as an afternoon snack or something to munch on between classes.


Eat to achieve an intake of healthy fats:

·         Eat salmon 2-3 times a week

·         Cook with olive oil only when using medium heat cooking

·         Make your own salad dressing with olive oil, vinegar, pepper, lemon, and a little salt

·         Snack on walnuts, pecans, seeds or any of the healthy fat snacks listed previous.

·         Take a fish oil pill

·         Add flax to your smoothie or oatmeal

Although we hear fats are bad and that we should be careful with how much we eat, there are differences among the 4 fats: unsaturated fat, essential fatty acids, saturated fat, and trans fats.   Keep in mind the benefits of the healthy fats, essential fatty acids and the non benefits of trans fats.  Go for fish or chicken as a first choice most of the time and beef as second choice.  Eat the fats that give something back!

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