Eat Healthy Fats (July’s Healthy Habit)

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to come up with monthly “resolutions” for myself and for anyone who follows this blog.  Cooking Light magazine (which is one of my favorite sources of recipes and ideas for healthy living) had the same idea, so I am shamelessly borrowing their healthy habits!

It’s a lot easier to commit to 30 days of a new habit than a full year.  So this month’s goal is to eat more healthy fats.

The “myth” of fats has become so pervasive in our society that even physicians (and physicians in training) succumb to the idea that fats are somehow “bad”.  The type of fats we consume as a society have changed in the last few decades, a change that may have played a part in our current obesity epidemic (and associated diseases).  If you are interested in reading more about this, I would suggest starting with Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, David Kessler’s The End of Overeating:Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, and Laura Sim’s The Politics of Fat: Food and Nutrition in America.

What kind of fats are in the food we eat?

There are three important dietary fats :  saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and transfats.

Fat-ChartLink to source for this chart

  • Saturated fats are generally solid at room temperature.  All animal fats are primarily saturated (meat, lard, butter, cream, fish oil).  The majority of plant based oils are primarily unsaturated, but there are a few exceptions.  Examples of vegetable oils that have a high percentage of saturated fat include palm oil and coconut oil.

notransfatcali

What fats should I eat?

Here is a great summary from mayoclinic.com– the “bottom line” of how to adjust your fat intake for an optimal healthy diet

  • Limit total fat to 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories. Fat has 9 calories a gram. Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, this amounts to about 400 to 700 calories a day, or about 44 to 78 grams of total fat.
  • Emphasize unsaturated fats from healthier sources, such as lean poultry, fish and healthy oils, such as olive, canola and nut oils.
  • Limit less healthy full-fat dairy products, desserts, pizza, burgers and sausage, and other fatty meats.

omega-3-rich-foods

Fat content in “I forgot to bring my own food” on-call food….   Which is why it’s so important to plan your food on call.

  • McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese:  26 grams of fat (12 saturated, 2 transfat)
  • McDonald’s Big Mac: 29 grams of fat (10 saturated, 2 transfat)
  • McDonald’s large fries: 30 grams of fat (6 saturated, 8 transfat)
  • Domino’s Pizza (2 slices Pepperoni): 26 grams of fat (11 sat, 0 transfat)
  • Chipotle Chicken burrito (all the way): 53 grams of fat (20 sat, 0 transfat)


FatKids.311155840_stdPhoto source

Recipes with healthy fats (that meet the “pizza rule”)

tomato-stack-ck-1809109-l

Heirloom tomato avocado stack

mango-salmon-ck-592358-l

Marinated salmon with mango kiwi relish

african-soup-ck-522101-l

Vegetarian West African Soup

More information on dietary fat:

Dietary fats: Know which types to choose from mayoclinic.com

Fats and cholesterol from the Harvard School of Public Health

Fat – From the NY Times Health Guide

One thought on “Eat Healthy Fats (July’s Healthy Habit)

  1. Such a great article it was which the type of fats we consume as a society have changed in the last few decades, a change that may have played a part in our current obesity epidemic. In which
    fats has become so pervasive in our society that even physicians succumb to the idea that fats are somehow bad on your health. Thanks for sharing this article.

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