The EAT Better Strategy:
Most people find fats confusing.
They are technically challenging to understand, let alone keep straight:
And there is so much conflicting ‘information’:
Here is the real skinny on healthy fat, a way to cut through this confusion.
Fats are an important part of what you eat. They are the most energy-dense food, providing taste and satiation to your meals.
Fats also make hormones, modulate your immunity, support your nervous system, transport fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), and form all of your cellular membranes.
Some fats are essential (meaning your body cannot make them, so you have to eat them) - these are the Omega 3’s and 6’s.
After over 30 years of demonizing fat, dietary recommendations now embrace the choice of healthy fats.
So far, so good - but what are healthy fats?
This may be the most conflicted question in all of nutrition.
Here are some things that almost everyone agrees with:
Quick Technical Guide to Fats
Here is our take - it is all about balance:
1. Balance your energy
Think about fats and carbs as providing your energy, with protein for repair and maintenance. If you have followed the guide so far, you have built your meals around healthy protein packages and filled out your plates with healthy veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Now balance out your meal with healthy fats for taste, satiation, and of course, to meet your energy needs.
High fat, low carb can work
Low fat, high carb can work
Medium fat, medium carb can work BUT
High fat, high carb won’t work.
2. Balance your types of fats
More than half of your fat should be monounsaturated.
Healthy fats come from whole food sources with minimal processing.
Think about the temperature you are cooking at - fats each have a smoke point at which they smoke and burn, yielding harmful free radicals and a burnt flavour. The more refined the oil, the higher the smoke point as the impurities that can burn at a lower temperature get removed.
*for refined oils, choose products that explicitly state that they are cold-pressed or expeller-pressed. If the oil does not note how it was processed - assume that it was extracted using chemicals.
Need help applying this to your busy life?
Get a personalized nutrition plan to gain clarity and improve your health:
The TARGET Nutrition Plan takes a personalized, evidence-based approach to help you make better choices. Our nutritionists assess what you are currently doing and provide you with a personalized plan (including meal plans). Everything you need to transform your diet.
Dr. Brendan Byrne