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Why Fats Should Not Be Feared

Fat is a macronutrient, which is something the body requires in large amounts. That means the whole “Eating fat will make you fat.” doesn’t really hold up. A better statement would be: “Eating junk and saturated fat will make you fat.” But why let facts get in the way of a popular saying?

Eating healthy fats — unsaturated fats, specifically — has been shown to provide energy, allow the body to better absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), and help regulate cholesterol when consumed in conjunction with a healthy diet. These fats can make up to 20-35% of your daily calorie intake (based on a 2,000-calorie diet). Unsaturated fats can be found in beans, fish, nuts, and oils such as canola, olive, and sunflower. These fats — particularly polyunsaturatedfats found mostly in nuts, fish, and leafy greens — are also high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help control inflammation and regulate blood pressure and support healthy skin and hair, respectively.

Saturated fats and trans fats are the fats you need to be mindful of. They’re commonly found in butter, beef, lamb, and lard, and should be limited to 5-6% of your total calories, according to theAmerican Heart Association. Trans fats, often used to prolong a food’s shelf life, are usually found in foods fried in partially hydrogenated oil. These foods should be eating sparingly, or make up 1% of your daily caloric intake. Going overboard on saturated and trans fats can raise cholesterol and potentially increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

So, you shouldn’t fear fats. You should just keep tabs on the types of fats you’re eating.

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