Fats perform many critical functions in the body:
- They provide 60-80% of the body's energy needs at rest.
- Fats are an abundant energy reserve.
- They protect and insulate vital organs.
- Fats provide proper cell structure, especially in nerve and brain tissue.
- Fats help produce vitamin D in the body.
- Fats form steroid hormones.
- They carry vitamins A, D, E, and K through the bloodstream.
- Fats enhance the flavor and add satiety to meals.
Foods that contain fats include oils, grains, meat, dairy, beans, certain vegetables (like avocados and olives), nuts, and seeds. Generally speaking, fruits and vegetables contain minimal to no fat. Some of the foods with the highest cholesterol (fat) content are whole milk, cheddar cheese, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and butter and whole eggs (which contains the highest amount of cholesterol).
The guidelines for fat consumption vary, but recommendations range from 20-35% of the daily caloric intake. If you consume 2,000 calories per day, fats should be 400-700 of those calories. It is thought best to aim at the lower end of this spectrum and to choose non-animal based sources for optimal heart health.
Be good to yourself! More next time...