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Over the years, oils and fats have gotten a bad rap. Even today, the perception that “fats make people fat” still persists.
Before we tackle this myth, we must first explain the difference between foods that are “fatty” versus “high-fat.” Fatty foods are man-made items, such as highly processed oils or packaged foods and deep-fried items. By contrast, high-fat foods are those that naturally contain large amounts of fat per serving – more than five grams of fat in a serving.
There are also two kinds of high-fat foods: those that are high in saturated fats and those with unsaturated fats. Typically, animal proteins like red meat and pork are higher in saturated fats.
But did you know that the fat profile of meat is purely a result of the animal’s diet? Imagine that you have two types of farm-raised animals: one is given fatty feeds in areas called “feed lots” while the other is “free range” and eats only grasses. The fatty feeds contain processed oils high in saturated fats, which then causes the meat to contain high amounts of saturated fats. On the other hand, grasses have an omega (unsaturated) fat profile. Animals raised in pasture who never see a feed lot will have an “omega fat profile” instead of a “saturated fat profile.”
The same is true of farm-raised versus wild-caught fish. Farm-raised fish have a higher saturated fat profile due to their fatty diet, whereas wild-caught fish have an omega fat profile from eating krill, plankton, and sea grasses. Even in the animal kingdom, the type of fat consumed matters when it comes to health!
Fat is a necessary part of our diets and is required for many functions in your body. In fact, fat is needed to absorb and store key vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K all require dietary intake of fat for proper absorption and storage.
Many who strive for a fat-free lifestyle may face issues because their bodies could not get the needed vitamins. This can result in poor eye sight, bone density issues, problems with the nervous system, poor skin health, and bleeding risks.
How do you know which fats are saturated or unsaturated? The easiest way to find out is to leave it out on the counter. If the item is still solid at room temperature, it is a saturated fat. Butter and coconut oil are two examples. But if the item is a liquid, it is an unsaturated fat.
Let us look at some healthy fat choices for your diet. These will help to keep your body running smoothly.
Go ahead, add these healthier oils to your list. For more tips on heart-healthy eating, visit our website.
The Center for Bariatric Surgery, a program of Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals, offers a long-term solution for obese patients struggle daily with their weight and related medical conditions such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and diabetes, as well as with the stigma of obesity. Bariatrics is the field of medicine that specializes in treating obesity, and bariatric surgery refers to surgery that promotes weight loss.