Fat can provide texture and palatability to foods hence many chefs love to use it. However, portion control is all the more important as fats have twice the amount of calories per gram than their counterparts, carbohydrates and protein. Thus if you had one teaspoon of sugar versus one teaspoon of fat, fat would have twice the amount of calories, be it lard or olive oil on the teaspoon. However, fats are more than just about calorie control. Read more...
Why do I need fat?
Too much or too little fat can upset your virtue towards good health. You need fat for insulation and protection, body temperature and hormone regulation as well as other metabolic and physiological processes. Just as essential amino acids are required from protein sources, essential fatty acids from fat sources are also required. This also includes the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Where do I find fat?
Fats are found in a variety of animal and plant sources, ranging from fats that you can see such as visible fats on meats to fats found in plants, nuts and seeds. In an evolutionary world of technology, you also need to be aware of processed or trans fats which is similar to, if not worse than saturated fat.
What are the different types of fats?
Our main source of saturated fats are animal fats. It is best to keep these low and replace them with unsaturated fats from various plants, nuts, seeds and oily fish. HFG has a good guide on the types of oils used for cooking. Our trans-fat intake in New Zealand is below the recommendation from the World Health Organisation at less than 1% of our energy intake. However, it is important to recognise these fats and limiting processed foods that are not nutrient dense.
How much fat do I need?
Fat typically comprises between 30-35% of a daily energy intake. However, most of this should come from heart-healthy pipe-cleaner unsaturated varieties. If you’re trying to lose weight and aiming to cut down your fat intake, ensure you are still having your ‘good’ fats for overall health.
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