hotsparkmama

Support for health & wellness

FATS oh how I love thee

on November 9, 2013

FATS…NO, I’m no calling you names haha I wanna talk about FATS!  We WANT em, we LOVE em, we NEED em!  Yes, that would be the “topic” I’m studying for my FNS Certification today… (but the funny part is the song I’ve got in my head from way back when…I’ll rephrase it for the topic.. “Let’s talk about fats baby, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, so what do you say?” LOL..I’m tellin’ ya there’s always a tune up there)

fat ecard

Maria and Rachel are trying to lose weight. Maria swears by a new diet program that allows you to eat all the fat you want, but no high-carbohydrate, “starchy” foods. Her diet is working—she’s al- ready lost 10 pounds! Then there’s Rachel, whose goal in life is to eat zero grams of fat. She’s fat-obsessed—always insisting on “fat-free” everything, and driving her friends nuts with information about the number of fat grams in whatever they eat. As you listen to the two of them compare dieting stories, you wonder which one has the right approach to fat consumption, or even whether there is a right approach. On the one hand, it seems that you hear a lot about American high-fat diets and high rates of obesity and heart disease. On the other hand, can a “no-fat” diet be healthy? Are all low-fat and no-fat products really more nutritious?

Fat is an essential nutrient. Although our bodies are very good at making and storing fat in the form of triglycerides, they cannot make some types of fatty acids (a component of triglycerides), so these compounds must come from the diet. Triglycerides—the fats we associate with fried foods, cream cheese, vegetable oil, or salad dressing—are one type of a larger group of compounds called lipids. Cholesterol, another lipid, is familiar to most Americans, but you may not realize that your body makes cholesterol and that your dietary cholesterol makes only a small contribution to the total amount in your body. All lipids have important roles, but at the same time, too much triglyceride or too much cholesterol can increase the risk for chronic disease.

Fats contribute greatly to the flavor and texture of foods. When you take out the fat, sometimes you have to boost the flavor with sugar, sodium, or other additives to have a tasty product. This means that fat-free foods sometimes aren’t any lower in calories than regular food—so Rachel can’t eat the 1 whole box of fat-free cookies and still expect to lose weight!

Once you have an idea of the role of lipids in the body and in foods, you’ll be able to apply the principles of balance, variety, and moderation in selecting a healthful, enjoyable diet with neither too much nor too little fat.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times a week. Fish is a good source of protein and doesn’t have the high saturated fat that fatty meat products do. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon are high in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosa- hexaenoic acid (DHA).

Some people with high triglycerides and patients with cardiovascular disease may benefit from more omega-3 fatty acids than they can easily get from diet alone. These people should talk to their doctor about taking supplements to reduce heart disease risk.

You metabolize most of the fatty acids you eat to supply your energy needs, but a small proportion become crucial chemical regulators. The eicosanoids (also called prostanoids) are one such group of regulators. These signaling molecules contain 20 or more carbons (eikosi is the Greek word for “twenty”). They have profound localized effects through their influence on inflammatory processes, blood vessel dilation and constriction, blood clotting, and more. Because they don’t circulate throughout the body as hormones do, scientists sometimes call eicosanoids “local” hormones.

Triglycerides are the major lipids in both the diet and in the body. Triglycerides add flavor and texture (and calories!) to foods and are an important source of the body’s energy.

Although some of us, like Rachel, think of fat as something to avoid, fat is a key nutrient with important body functions.

Fat is a rich and efficient source of calories. Under normal circumstances, dietary and stored fat supply about 60 percent of the body’s resting energy needs. Like carbohydrate, fat is protein sparing; that is, fat is burned for energy, sparing valuable proteins for their important roles as muscle tissue, enzymes, antibodies, and other functions. Different body tissues preferentially use different sources of calories. Glucose is virtually the sole fuel for the brain except during prolonged starvation, and fat is the preferred fuel of muscle tissue at rest. During physical activity, glucose and glycogen join fat in supplying energy.

High-fat foods are higher in calories than either high protein or high carbohydrate foods. One gram of fat contains 9 kilocalories, compared with only 4 kilocalories in a gram of carbohydrate or protein, or 7 kilocalories per gram for alcohol. For example, a tablespoon of corn oil (pure fat) has 120 kilocalories, whereas a tablespoon of sugar (pure carbohydrate) has only 50 kilocalories.

Fat’s caloric density is especially important when energy needs are high. An infant, for example, who needs ample energy for fast growth but whose stomach can hold only a limited amount of food, needs the high fat content of breast milk or infant formula to get enough calories. When inappropriately put on a low-fat diet, infants and young children do not grow and develop properly. Other people with high-energy needs include athletes, individuals who are physically active in their jobs, and people who are trying to regain weight lost due to illness.

Of course, fat’s caloric density has a negative side. In practical terms, 9 kilocalories per gram translates to about 115 to 120 kilocalories per tablespoon of pure fat (e.g., vegetable oil). That makes it very easy to get too many fat calories, and dietary fat in excess of a person’s energy needs is a major contributor to obesity.

Now, looky there…simply for following me…you got free education.  This class that costs me $100’s of dollars you gleaned from.  I could totally inundate you w/ overwhelming amounts of information but I ain’t gonna lie, it ain’t as interesting as I’d anticipated and quite frankly a lot of it is rather boring but HEY…it’s learning 🙂

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