Updated: Jul 4, 2021
You've heard all the talk about calories (topic for another day) but what about macros? Macros (macronutrients) are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. All of what the average person needs to keep a healthy and nutritious intake!
First macro focus is....
Dietary Fat: trans fats, saturated fats, unsaturated fats, omega fatty acids.
Fat is not bad. This a heaps common misconception. Did you know about a decade ago people were saying avocados were bad for you because their high fat content? Fats are so important in your diet. Fats are needed for proper hormone and gene regulation, to protect your organs, brain function, to support cell growth, to provide energy, efficient vitamin intake such as A, D, E and K, and more! Fats are high in calories, but also high in bodily support. While fats are important for our bodies, there are different types of fat, some are more efficient for our bodies than others.
The main fat of concern is trans fats. Trans fats are mostly man made through a process called partial hydrogenation. These fats are a significant factor in causing disease as they raise low density lipids ("bad" cholesterol) and lower high density lipids ("good" cholesterol). This is because our bodies aren't used to trans fats, so they're the most difficult and time consuming to digest. Because of this these fats linger in the blood stream, clogging up arteries by building up plaque, and eventually causing disease such as heart disease or stroke. To summarize, these fats can cause weight gain, heart problems, clogged arteries, as well as raised LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowered HDL (good cholesterol). Avocados (high in unsaturated fats) on the other hand contain omega-3 fatty acids, which pretty much work the opposite to trans fats!
Now, I know you've heard of saturated and unsaturated fats, but what does these actually mean? Which are which and isn't one bad?
Let's start with the meaning of saturated. The "saturated" in saturated fat has to do with the molecular structure. The saturated fats are a molecule with no carbon double bonds (or any double bonds) and made up of fatty acid molecules. These fats are solid at room temperature. Now unsaturated fats have at least one (monounsaturated) or more (polyunsaturated) double bonds, making them a more suitable fat for larger amounts of consumption. These fats tend to be liquid at room temperature.
Now, I know, I'm a nerd . I just threw a bunch of science at you. Why does this matter? Well, the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats influence the breakdown and how fats are digested and utilized in the body.
Unsaturated fats breakdown more easily due to their kinked structures caused by the aforementioned double carbon bonds. The double bonds cause gaps between molecules packed together so they are ready to break down easily and so are efficiently digested by the body in the intestine. Saturated fats have a harder time breaking down and take longer, therefore lingering in your blood stream and, in turn, causing "plaque, which clogs up your arteries. The lack of double bonds means the molecule can compact more closer, which takes me time to break apart and digest (and trans fats take even longer).
Because of these findings it is most commonly recommended that trans fats are minimize as much as possible, saturated fats are at most 10% of your daily intake, and that most of your daily intake is from omegas (type of polyunsaturated fat that I will go over in another post of it's own as I find these SO important!) and unsaturated fats.
Here is a quick list of a few items in each category to give you a more solid idea!
Trans: margarines, baked goods, frozen pizza, non dairy coffee creamer, fried foods.
Saturated: milk & white chocolate, red meats, processed meat, coconut oil, butter, lard, ghee, pastries, pies.
Unsaturated: avocados, olive oil, peanut butter/oil, vegetable oil, fatty fish, nuts and seeds.
The recommended fat intake in a day is around 20-35% of the daily calorie intake. This is around 40-75 grand depending on your caloric intake and health and fitness goals.
Did you find this helpful? Is there anything in particular you'd love to learn more about? Feel free to leave any questions, feedback, suggestions, love, or input!
Breakfast idea: Slice of rye toast with 1tsp olive oil, chia seeds and Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel, 2 eggs with kale and spring onions, 1/4 avocado.