Blog > Eat
June 17, 2021
SHOULD WE FEAR FAT? | By Hubert Cormier
There’s a lot of information available about fat, also known as lipids: Propaganda, stubborn myths, fake news, serious research… Should we avoid fat? Let's find out!
☝️ EATING FAT WON'T MAKE YOU FAT!
In nutrition, there are three main sources of energy: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Each of these macronutrients is essential, and can be found in your diet in varying percentages depending on lifestyle, eating habits, customs, traditions, diets, weight-loss plans, etc.
While it's true that each gram of fat consumed is more calorically dense than the other two macronutrients, you generally eat a bit less of it. Fat is highly satiating. For example, the Keto diet is a high-fat diet, with 70%-80% of calories coming from fat, yet some people still lose weight! But let’s be clear: There are several different types of fat, and they’re not all created equal.
Many researchers believe that a well-balanced diet contains about 35% fat. In Canada, the average percentage of fat in our diet is 30.1%, whereas the Institute of Medicine recommends anywhere between 20% and 35% of the total energy component.
🧈 REPLACE SATURATED AND TRANS FATS WITH UNSATURATED FATS
When it comes to heart health, the type of fat is just as important as the amount consumed. It’s better to opt for monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, which are better choices due to the composition of their fatty acids. Non-hydrogenated soft margarine and vegetable oils such as canola oil are better choices than butter.
However, some controversy remains about the saturated and trans fatty acids in dairy products. Some suspect the influence of a powerful lobby that funds research, while others firmly believe that dairy products have multiple beneficial effects because of their calcium and vitamin D content and complex matrix. For the time being, scientific studies remain unclear about the effects of dairy products on the reduction of blood lipids.
🥑 SOURCES OF UNSATURATED FATS IN FOODS
For those of you who would like some good unsaturated fat options to add to your diet, here is a list of foods you can try to include:
- Vegetable oil (canola, rapeseed, peanut, grape seed, flax, sunflower, etc.)
- Chia seed
- Oily fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines, etc.)
- Nuts (pecans, macadamia, walnuts, cashews, almonds, etc.)
- Seeds (sunflower, soy, sesame, pumpkin, etc.)
- Nut butter
🐟 INCREASE YOUR CONSUMPTION OF OMEGA-3 POLYUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS
Eat more fish! Fish, unlike red meat, contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats. When you choose to eat fish, you’re most likely substituting meat for fish. This swap allows you to eat healthier fats, which is excellent for your health!
Healthy fish choices include salmon, herring, char, mackerel, and trout. Eating just two meals of fish a week allows you to meet your body’s omega-3 needs (EPA + DHA).
🥜 EAT A SERVING OF NUTS AND SEEDS EVERY DAY
Nuts and seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats and in dietary fibre! Eating a serving of nuts every day (one serving equals 60 ml (¼ cup) or about 28 grams) provides the body with a beneficial fat intake. This snack can also replace a less healthy choice such as cookies, cake or chips.
So, should you be afraid of fat? Definitely not! Should you eat more fat? Not necessarily. Just remember that when it comes to diet, everyone is different, and that you’re probably unaware of how much fat—or other macronutrients for that matter—you’re already consuming! Be wary of what you read or hear, and check your facts. These three main principles are always a great starting point:
1. Eat a varied diet including a majority of plant-based foods
2. Eat fresh, minimally processed foods
3. Reduce your consumption of added sugars
Follow Hubert Cormier on social media 💬