The Alpha And The Omega Of Fats

Nutrition and

Nutrition and

People actually still think that fat is bad for them. Sad, we know, but true. Spillover from the 80's anti-fat campaign has left people confused about whether dietary fat intake is truly the demon it was made out to be or whether, as current nutritional research suggests, some fats can actually be good for us.

Walter Willett, Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, has this to say:

"The idea that all fat is bad for you, the exclusive focus on adverse effects of fat, may have contributed to the obesity epidemic...The emphasis on total fat reduction has been a serious distraction in efforts to control obesity and improve health in general."

That's right, when used properly, fat intake can be a strong ally, rather than a deadly foe. Of course, it is true that certain fats probably do plug up our arteries, make us fatter, and accelerate our aging. But it's also true that many other dietary fats can offer protection against heart disease, free radical damage, and cancer; can increase metabolic rate and fat burning; can increase muscle mass; and can increase the production of hormones like testosterone.

One way to ensure that your fat intake supports your health and physique goals rather than detracts from them, is to follow these fat intake suggestions:

1) Try to get about 25-35% of your dietary energy from fat.

2) Split up your total dietary fat intake as follows - 1/3 from saturated fat, 1/3 from monounsaturated fat and 1/3 from polyunsaturated fat.

3) Of your polyunsaturated fat intake, about 1/2 should come from omega 3s and 1/2 from omega 6s.

Use the handy chart on the following page to figure out what foods contain which types of fats.

The Alpha and the Omega of Fats

Nutrition and

Food

% Saturated Fat

% Monounsaturated Fat

% Polyunsaturated Fat

Almonds

10%

68%

22%

Beef

55%

40%

5%

Brazil Nuts

26%

36%

38%

Canola Oil

5%

57%

38%

Cashews

20%

62%

18%

Cheese

67%

26%

7%

Chicken

31%

49%

20%

Coconut Oil

86%

9%

5%

Duck

35%

52%

13%

Eggs

39%

43%

18%

Flax Seed Oil

8%

18%

74%

Hazelnuts

8%

82%

10%

Herring

24%

57%

19%

Macadamia Nuts

16%

82%

2%

Milk

67%

26%

7%

Olive Oil

13%

75%

12%

Palm Oil

50%

41%

9%

Peanuts

15%

51%

34%

Pecans

8%

66%

26%

Pine Nuts

15%

40%

45%

Pistachios

13%

72%

15%

Pork / Lard

40%

48%

12%

Salmon

16%

37%

47%

Sesame Oil

15%

42%

43%

Walnuts

10%

24%

66%

The table represents the ratios of the different fats in several food selections.

The table represents the ratios of the different fats in several food selections.

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