Eating fat does not make you fat. Eating excess calories is what makes you fat, whether that comes from fatty foods or not. With that being said, there are some forms of fat that are much better for you than others.
There are four different types of fat, they are as follows:
- Trans fats
- Saturated fats
- Monounsaturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
The BAD fats:
The bad fats that one should avoid are trans fats and saturated fats. Trans fats have been found to raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels, cause heart disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes. Basically, nothing good comes from eating trans fats. Saturated fats increase risk of heart disease and stroke along with causing high blood cholesterol.
- Foods containing Trans fats
- Fried foods
- Fast foods
- Snack foods (chips, cookies)
- In short, junk foods.
- Foods high in saturated fats
- Whole milk dairy products
- Poultry skin
Note: When looking at nutrition labels, food companies do not need to report trans fat amount if per serving it contains less than 0.5 grams. Useful trick to see if the product does in fact contain trans fats rather than the 0 it claims, check the ingredients for words like “hydrogenated”.
The GOOD fats!
Most of your fat intake should come from monounsaturated fat. This type of fat is common in nuts, nut oils etc. The second largest portion of your fat intake should come from polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are common in plant and animal foods.
- Examples of foods containing the good fats
- Nut butters
How much fat should I aim to eat a day?
The recommended fat intake is 20-30% of ones daily calorie intake. To calculate this, multiply .2 or .3 by your calorie intake and then divide that number by 9 to figure our how many grams that totals. 1 gram of fat is 9 calories.
Example: Someone who aims to eat 1600 calories a day multiplies .2 by 1600 to get 320 (.3 x 1600 = 480). 32o-480 calories should come from fat. 320 divided by 9 is equal to roughly 36 and 480/9 = 53. Someone who eats 1600 calories a day should eat between 36-53 grams of fat a day.