Nutrition

Straight to the fats: Everything you need to know about the fat in your food

By: Jill Buchner

Photography by Ryan Brook Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by Ryan Brook

Nutrition

Straight to the fats: Everything you need to know about the fat in your food

By: Jill Buchner

When it comes to calories, here's how fats compare to other nutrients.

- 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories
- 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories
- 1 gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories

Fat contains more than twice as many calories per gram as other macronutrients, but don’t write it off: Fat makes you feel fuller than simple carbs and is essential  for optimal health.

healthy fats



What does your target daily intake of fat look like? Here's how it could add up:


Based on a diet of 2000 daily calories, the average woman should get 45-75 grams of fat each day.

- 1 cup of low-fat plain yogurt contains 4 grams of fat
- 1 slice of Cheddar cheese contains 9 grams of fat
- 1 tbsp of mayo contains 18 grams of fat
- 1/4 cup of almonds contains 10 grams of fat
- 1 tbsp of olive oil contains 14 grams of fat
- half a fillet of salmon contains 7.5 grams of fat

Fats and your body:

Hair
Omega-3 fatty acids can help give you shiny hair by providing the necessary fat to hair shafts and oil to the scalp.

Heart
Evidence indicates unsaturated fats may promote heart health by lowering artery-clogging LDL cholesterol, while other fats, such as trans fats, can increase your LDL levels.

Skin
Fats make up the cell membranes in your body and are especially important for your skin. Some fats can prevent water loss and may help quell inflammation.

Eyes
Research shows omega-3s may protect your eyes from conditions like age-related macular degeneration, a disorder that can cause vision loss.

Head
Fats are essential for a healthy brain. Ongoing research suggests omega-3s may help improve your memory and protect against dementia, while trans fats could increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

GI Tract
Fats help your digestive system absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as healthy pigments called carotenoids, powerful antioxidants such as lycopene and beta-carotene that may help fight cancer.

Check out what fats to eat or avoid.

This story was originally part of "A Matter of Fat" in the July 2015 issue.
           
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Nutrition

Straight to the fats: Everything you need to know about the fat in your food

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