Fat’s are important in a healthy diet! There, I said it.
Fats have gotten a bad rap in the past. ‘Low-fat’ this and ‘low-fat’ that products are everywhere, but are they really a healthier option? Sometimes no, these ‘low-fat’ alternatives are more processed and have higher amounts of sugars/sweeteners to make them taste better. Sure there are some fats that are better than others, but finding balance between all fats is important so let’s break it down.
Why do we need fats?
Dietary fats are important for many functions in our body. For one, they’re important for keeping our body warm. They’re also required for fat-soluble vitamin absorption (like vitamin D, E, and K) and are a source of essential fatty acids which cannot be produced by the body.
What are the different types of fat?
There are two main types of fats found in our diet, unsaturated and saturated. There used to be a third, trans fat, which was created by hydrogenating unsaturated fats (oils) into solids. The use of these types of fats have since been banned in the US and are not found in the diet anymore.
- Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, like vegetable oils. Unsaturated fats are considered healthier because of their role in cholesterol level management and heart health. There are two sub-types of unsaturated fats, mono- and polyunsaturated. The difference between these has to do with the number of double bonds in their chemical structure.
- Monounsaturated: These have a single carbon-carbon double bond in their chemical structure, making them liquid at room temperature, like olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is rich in monounsaturated fats, which is why it is such a popular heart healthy diet.
- Polyunsaturated: Corn, sunflower, and safflower oil are all polyunsaturated fats which have multiple carbon-carbon double bond. The most well known polyunsaturated fats are Omega-3 and Omega-6, more on these later.
- Saturated fats are solids at room temperature, like butter, cheese, and animal fat. For a heart healthy diet, it is recommended to consume under 6% of caloric intake from these types of fats.
What about Omega-3s and 6s?
You’ve probably heard a lot about Omega-3s. These fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fats that are mostly found in fatty fish, like salmon, nuts, and seeds. Omega-3s, and Omega-6s, are essential in the diet, meaning you must get them from food because your body cannot produce them. Omega-3s have multiple proposed benefits ranging from heart to brain health. Omega-6s have also been linked to heart health and are also found in various vegetable oils.
How much fat should I include in my diet each day?
The general recommendations for fat intake are around 30% of total calories, however everyones individual needs are different. Avocados, nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish are all great healthy fat options that can be incorporated into your meals.
Finding balance in your diet and choosing foods that are rich in poly- and monounsaturated fats is key! For the most part, the American diet is lacking in this balance which is why we created Smart Blend. Smart Blend® offers support for weight management, hormone balance, joint and cardiovascular health with marine oil from small sustainable fish (anchovies, mackerel, and sardines) containing the Omega3s, EPA and DHA, in a precise ratio.