The good fats and the bad fats short guide

May 2, 2009

Diets & Nutrition

One of the reasons that makes fats essential in every diet is the existence of some vitamins that are soluble only in fats. Some of the vitamins soluble in fats are vitamin A, D, E and K. Fats are divided in 3 categories: saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats, found in virgin olive oil, are the most healthy fats. But when exposed to high temperatures they can suffer transformations that are bad for your health. If monounsaturated fats are good fats than saturated fats are definitely bad fats.

Good fats can be found in: nuts, seeds, uncooked peanuts, virgin olive oil, avocado, fatty fish( salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna) and fish blubber. These are natural fats that aren’t refined and exposed to extreme heat.

Bad fats can be found in: margarine, fried foods, refined cooking oils, animal fats. Also eating fats above the quantities your body needs leads to fats deposits that are bad for your health. The ideal would be for you to eat only enough fats to keep your body work at top performance.

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How many calories do fats contain?

One gram of fat contains 9 calories. That’s twice as much as carbohydrates and proteins that have only 4 calories per gram. In the public guide for a healthy alimentation it is recommended that only 30% of the daily necessary calories to come from fats. The first buyers reflex would be to look on the food package and if you see less than 30% fat content you can eat it. WRONG! The information from the package is about the composition of the food, and how much of its weight is made up by fats. It isn’t about calories. One gram of fats contains 9 calories, and one gram of proteins or carbohydrates just 4 calories. And you must calculate the percentage of calories obtained from lipids.

Ok here goes nothing, just a little math. But the following computations are necessary for a healthy nutrition and even more important for healthy weight loss. Here is the miraculous formula:
-fat calories / total calories = the percentage of fats found on the food package / 100

Here is an example to understand better. So let’s say you go out and buy a cream cheese and you see on its package that it contains 23.8% fat. So here is how the formula would look like:
Y / 257 cal = 23.8 g / 100 resulting that Y=(257×23.8)/100 => Y=61.16 where:
y- the number of fat calories that we are trying to find out
257- the number of calories given by a 100 grams of food
23.8- the quantity of fats found in the food

In other words even if the cream cheese contains only 23 grams of fat per 100 grams of food, it represents over 60% of the total calories taken from that food. Basically if you would eat only that food all day you would take 60% of all your calories from fat calories. That aliment isn’t any good for a diet or weight loss. I don’t think you can eat it if you are trying to keep your weight either. If you get used to do the calculation in your mind, after a couple of times it becomes automatic and very easy. That way you will make sure you eat much more healthy foods.

You can’t eliminate all fats from your diet thinking that that is the best way to be on the safe side. Fats , especially good fats, are necessary as part of your nutrition for a healthy brain that works at full capacity. So the healthiest thing you can do is to keep fats in your diet but the right kind of fats, the good fats.

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