Many individuals fear lipids. The term “lipid” refers to fats, oils, and cholesterol. Lipids are the main macronutrient targeted and limited in various diets, weight loss programs, etc… but why? Lipids are NOT to be feared! Like carbohydrates and proteins, lipids are a major source of energy for the body.
They contain more energy then carbohydrates, yielding about 9kcal/gram while carbohydrates yield about 4kcal/gram. So, why are fats important for our health and wellbeing? Let’s take a look!-They provide fuel for our bodies-They provide a way for our bodies to store energy-They protect our body (insulate our organs, etc.)-They aid in the absorption & transportation of essential vitamins-They are Important structural components of our cell walls (especially cholesterol!)-They are Essential for the creation of certain hormones…and SO many more reasons! Not only are fats essential for the functioning and wellbeing of our bodies, but think about what they contribute to the food that we eat. Almost all foods contain at least SOME amount of fat. Fats aid in the exceptional mouthfeel, texture, and flavor of foods. Think about it: What would a bagel be without butter or cream cheese? As we can see, fats aid in our enjoyment and satisfaction of the foods that we consume. So, then why do fats have such a bad reputation?! Well… simply because of this: Some fats are better than others; not all fats are created equal. As I’m sure you have heard before, lipids can be separated into the categories of “saturated” and “unsaturated”. Basically, the difference between these two types of lipids is whether the lipid is a solid or liquid at room temperature and also its various effects on our health. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and too much in ones diet can raise blood cholesterol, which may lead to cardiovascular disease and other complications. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and have a positive effect on our health. Unsaturated fatty acids are found in many plant oils, while saturated fats are found mostly in animal products and highly processed foods such as cookies, cakes, crackers, etc.
Nutrition tips: *Keep your fat intake to about 20-35% of calories from fat per day to ensure you are not missing out/overindulging on this essential macronutrient. *Limit your intake of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Once in a while consumption of these fats for pleasure and enjoyment is never frowned upon; however, try to make most of the fats in your diet unsaturated fatty acids
*Examples of unsaturated fatty acids: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, fish oil, cold-water fish (tuna, salmon), and many nuts. *Examples of saturated fatty acids (try to limit as much as possible): Dairy products (whole milk, ice cream, butter), meats, mayonnaise, and margarine. *Examples of trans fatty acids (try to limit as much as possible): margarine, and baked goods made with shortening (cookies, cakes, etc.)
Coach P is a Holistic Coach and Nutrition Expert from New Jersey. She is WEGO Health, Health Activist and a member of The American Nutrition Association. Coach P is the founder of the holistic health and wellness, lifestyle brand Herbalosophy101. “Healthy living isn’t about perfection. It’s all about accurate balance; besides, I appreciate cheat days.” – Coach P. Connect with her on Twitter @coachpcare and www.herbalosophy101.com.