What is fat? Are all fats bad? There are such things as good fats and bad fats. You need to be able to figure out which are the best fats to consume as well as how much you should consume. This is an important skill to help you maintain a more nutritious diet and healthier lifestyle.
- Keep your fat intake to less than 10% of calories, or less than 7% of calories if you have high cholesterol levels. Keep your trans-fat consumption to less than 1%.
- Limit your total fat intake to between 20% and 35% of calories.
- Get most of your fat intake from polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. These fats are found in olives, canola, safflower, sunflower and corn oils, as well as nuts, avocados and fish. Because these fats are also concentrated sources of total fat, eat them in moderation to maintain a diet containing no more than 35% of calories from fat.
- Consume less than 300mg of dietary cholesterol per day.
- Eat fatty fish at least twice per week. The Omega-3 in fatty fish appears to have a protective effect on your heart and fish is a good source of protein. Salmon, sardines and albacore tuna are excellent sources of Omega-3. If you are worried about contaminates such as mercury, remove the skin and surface fat from the fatty fish before cooking. However, the benefits of fish consumption far outweigh the risk of exposure to contamination. Especially for middle aged and older men and post-menopausal women. Omega-3 fats are also found in soybeans, walnuts, flax seed, canola and products made from these foods.
- Minimize your cancer risk while grilling. The American Institute of Cancer Research advises simple measures, such as selecting lean cuts of meat, trimming fat and marinating, precooking and minimizing fire flare-ups and smoke.
- Remember these recommendations do not need to be followed for each meal. It is important however, to even out fat intake over the course of a week.
The Fiber Fix
- Consume the recommended intake of fiber – that is 30 grams per day for men over fifty and 21 grams of fiber for women older than fifty, each day.
- Eat whole grains and vegetables for insoluble fiber. Refined grain products such as white flour, white bread, white rice, are not good sources of fiber.
- Eat oats, oatmeal, barley, beans, peas, citrus fruits, apples and pears with skins for soluble fiber.
- Increase fiber intake gradually over several weeks. A sudden increase in dietary fiber may cause bloating or gas.
- Drink enough fluids. Insoluble fiber needs fluid to be effective.
- Do not go overboard on fiber. A very high intake can interfere with the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.
- Remember, nuts can be very high in calories, but a good source of Omega-3. If you are planning to add more nuts to your diet, you will need to substitute them for other foods you consume. Otherwise your calorie intake will increase and you will likely gain weight. One ounce of nuts is roughly equivalent to about two ounces of lean meat plus two teaspoons of vegetable oil.