Why fat is bad, or is it?
I’ve been reading about fat. I figured if I did a little research it might help motivate me to meet my daily fat goal. It’s somewhat surprising how much info is on the www about fat.
We’ll start with the fat basics and then take it from there.
How does fat affect our calorie intake?
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of carbs or protein = 4 calories
Hmm…so carbs and protein go a lot further than fat. Plus, since fat is high in calories it makes it more challenging to maintain a calorie deficit. And we know a calorie deficit is necessary if we want to lose weight.
Are all fats created equal?
There are different types of fat: saturated fat, trans fat, and unsaturated fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). Saturated and trans fat are the “bad” fats. Unsaturated fat is often called “good” fat. Saturated and trans fat have been linked to heart related diseases and raised LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Saturated (bad) fat is typically found in animal products: meat, poultry, eggs and dairy (to name a few). Trans fat (also bad) is found in hydrogenated vegetable oil and all those yummy baked and fried foods we love so much.
Unsaturated (good) fat is found in nuts, avocados, vegetable oil (i.e. sunflower and soy) and nut oil (i.e. peanut). Especially beneficial are Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty cold-water fish (i.e. salmon) and some seeds and nuts.
How much fat is too much fat?
Several sources I found recommend that fat intake should not exceed more than 35% of our total daily calories. That would be 60 grams of fat for a 1500 calorie per day diet. My daily fat goal is 25 grams (and my total calorie goal is 1425) – go figure. Why strive for good when we can go for great?
We also want to maintain a healthy balance between “good” and “bad” fat. It’s recommended that saturated fat does not exceed more than 10% of our daily calorie intake, so that would be 17 grams based on a 1500 calorie diet.
How the heck do you minimize fat intake (especially bad fat)?
- Avoid red meat, butter, whole milk, cheese, egg yolks, fried foods (french fries and potato chips), and baked goods (cookies and crackers)
- When consuming animal products like dairy choose a low-fat or non-fat product like non-fat yogurt, non-fat milk, and low-fat cheese
- Choose egg whites vs. the whole egg
- Keep an eye on portions, especially when consuming high-fat foods
- Bake, broil or steam vs. frying or cooking in oil
- If oil is necessary use olive oil (in moderation) or cooking spray
- Remove the skin from poultry
- Eat fish instead of meat
- Bulk up on fruits and vegetables
I actually think I’m addicted to fat. Yes peanut butter is “good” fat but I have no self-control when it comes to peanut butter so I had to stop buying it. It’s only good in moderation and it’s kind of like chocolate for me – I know no moderation.
When peanut butter or chocolate are in arm’s length I become possessed and cannot stop myself from eating it until…well I’ll spare you the details. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought a jar of peanut butter and ended up throwing it away in a moment of sanity to save myself.
Back to where we started…
A little fat goes a long way – NOT!
Just a reminder…yes I already mentioned this in the beginning of this blog. One fat gram equals nine calories (and one gram of carbs or protein only equal 4 calories). To lose weight we must burn more calories than we consume. It’s challenging to keep up a calorie deficit if our diet consists of a lot of high-fat foods.
I’ve never found a little of anything very filling. Hence my problem with peanut butter…two tablespoons is equal to 190 calories. For 190 calories I can eat a 4 oz. chicken breast (meat only) or 7.5 cups of broccoli florets – wow!
I don’t know about you, but this little research is going to motivate me to start really applying myself to my fat goal of 25 grams per day.
Until tomorrow! Kathi