Dietary fats are nutrients needed for an overall healthy lifestyle. Like carbohydrates and protein, dietary fats are an important source of energy for our bodies. Dietary fats are the most concentrated source of energy in your diet, providing nine calories per gram compared with four calories per gram from either carbohydrates or proteins.
Dietary fats supply essential fatty acids like, linoleic and linolenic acids which are especially important to children for proper growth. Dietary fats are also required for maintenance of healthy skin, for regulation of cholesterol metabolism, and as a precursor of prostaglandins, which are hormone like substances that regulate many body functions. They are also needed to carry and aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and carotenoids.
The truth is that dietary fats are a necessary part of a healthy, nutritional, balanced diet. There is a big difference between saturated and unsaturated fats on a molecular level. The fats found in nature including saturated animal fats are readily usable by the human body, and are a valuable part of proper nutrition.
Not all dietary fats are good for you; here are some you should try to avoid.
- Saturated fats such as butter, solid shortening, lard and fatback
- Trans fats, found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils
Try to replace bad dietary fats with oils such as corn, canola, olive, safflower, soybean and sunflower. These are much healthier fats and better for your body to work with when dieting or just eating healthy.
It is important to know that weight loss does not necessarily translate into proper nutrition. Many people believe that in order to lose weight, one must take fat out of their diet. This can be very devastating to the body as certain types of dietary fats are critical to proper function and health of the body. These types’ fats are known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). They are essential because your body cannot produce them on its own so they must come from your diet. The two primary EFAs are known as linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).
Some natural sources of Omega 3’s include flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, soybean and its products such as tofu and tempeh. Walnuts, and dark green veggies, such as kale, collards, chard, parsley, and wheat or barley grasses are also good sources. This is because all green (chlorophyll-rich) foods contain Omega-3 Fats in their chloroplasts.
Sources of Omega-6 fatty acids include nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, and certain dairy products.
SuperHealthCenter.com carries a great selection of high quality essential fatty acids in both liquid and pill form. Take a look at our Dietary Fats Supplements and diet healthier today.