Fats, as well as carbs and proteins, are important in everyone’s diet. Scientifically they’re called lipids and they’re subdivided in different categories that you’ll learn later on. As every food in your diet, the ones that contain fat must be in your diet and you should eat them moderately. Like carbohydrates and proteins they belong to the category of macronutrients. They’re mainly a source of energy and help support cell growth. But they also have other functions that we’ll cover throughout this article.
To understand why fats are important in your diet we shall proceed as follows. First, we’ll explain to you what kind of fats there are and what role they play in your diet. Then, we’ll bust some of the recurring myths. And finally, we’ll show you how you can implement them in your everyday life.
Types of fats
To know why fats are important in your diet, you should first learn what kind of fats exist. There are three main categories of fats: saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
So what are those complexed names? We’ll explain to you in the easiest way.
Saturated fatty acids
Without going into a scientific approach, saturated fatty acids are fats that generally come into a solid form at room temperature. They come from animal fats and plant oils. For instance, you can find saturated fats in meat, butter, cheese, cured meats and tropical oils.
Their consumption should not exceed 10% of the daily caloric intake. In fact, eating too much of them can lead to cholesterol and eventually obesity. Moreover, too much cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular problems.
However, this shouldn’t stop you from eating them. This is why consulting a dietitian and a personal trainer is important. You can find the right balance for saturated fats in your diet.
Monounsaturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fatty acids, unlike saturated fats, are related to a general improvement in health. In fact, they’re known for improving blood cholesterol levels, increasing good cholesterol and decreasing the bad one. You can find them mainly in plant-based oils in liquid form. Such as olive oil, sesame oil, canola oil and peanut oil. In the solid form, you can find them in avocados, nuts, seeds and tofu. Of all oils, the best one remains olive oil. In fact, it does not only contain healthy fats. It’s also rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory substances, vitamins A,D and E.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids
These are commonly known as Omega 3 and Omega 6. The most important thing to know about them is that they’re of course important in your diet. However, you should respect the right amount between them. Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio recommendation is 4:1. They’re also fats that our body can’t produce on its own, unlike cholesterol for instance.
You can find Omega 3 especially in fish and seafood, especially in salmon, thuna, mackerel and sardines.
And you can find Omega 6 in pork and poultry fed on corn or soybeans. But you can also find it in sunflower seeds, wheat germ, sesame, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, soybeans and corn.
The importance of fats in your diet: Myths about fat consumption
“Avoid fat if you want to lose weight”
There’s a misconception around eating fats during fat loss. Fats are a slow form of energy with more calories supplied than carbs and proteins. For instance, eating fat as a preworkout is not recommended, or at least should be eaten in small amounts. In fact, because they’re digested slowly it can affect your workouts.
However, you should put fats in your meals outside your workout window, even during fat loss. In fact, during fat loss, it’s not really about the fats but the calorie intake. As long as you respect your total daily calorie intake you’ll achieve your goal.
In fact, the importance of fats in your diet resides in the fact that it provides you with energy. When eating less calories than you usually do, fats will give you the energy throughout your day.
“Fats make you fat”
Fats don’t make you fat. Actually, not eating fat might be the reason you’re not losing fat. This is because you’re depriving your body of an important source for your health. In fact, including fats in your meals will keep you satiated longer.
For instance, try to avoid eating fries cooked in oil. Instead, you can opt for a large bowl of salad. This is what we call “volume food” because you can eat a big amount of it to keep you fuller. Then, you can add homemade dressing.
You’ll learn two things here. The first one is making healthy choices; for instance you’ll learn more about what fats you should eat and avoid. The second one is that you can adapt your fat intake to your calorie intake.
“Fats are bad for your health”
The last myth is that fats are bad for your health. Fats are important in your diet as much as proteins, carbs, vitamins, minerals etc. There’s no study that shows that fats are bad for your health. However, of all the fats mentioned above, the ones that are essential in your body are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Finally, there are studies that show that there’s too much confusion around fats. They’re essential for your health no matter what your fitness journey or diet is.
How to implement fats in your diet
Now you know why fats are important in your diet. But you also know which ones are the most important.
We will give you some advice on how to implement them in your diet. However keep in mind to always consult a personal trainer or dietitian. Therefore, you’ll know how much you need based on your diet and health.
Fats can come in every form and shape. You can implement them at breakfast, lunch, dinner and even as a snack.
For instance, for breakfast and for snacks you can eat eggs. The whites are rich in protein and the yolk is rich in Omega-3. You can also make avocado toast: as a reminder, they’re rich monounsaturated fats. You can also eat greek yogurt with fruits and peanut butter or almond butter. These two are caloric, so don’t go heavy with them! Or, if you don’t like to eat first thing in the morning, you can opt for a green smoothie with hemp seeds.
Finally, for lunch and dinner you can eat salads and add fats through homemade dressings. You can also add chia seeds in a small amount. Finally, you can eat salmon and mozzarella as main sources of protein with fats.
You’ve now learned that fats are important in your diet. They’re macronutrients that you need to implement in your diet. Be aware of which one you eat and the amount you eat. Finally, don’t forget that exercising is important for you health. However, you’ll see greater results with good nutrition and healthy routine.
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