When talking about the fat in food, people are usually talking about dietary triglycerides. Triglycerides can be divided into four categories:
1. Trans Fats (Avoid these!)
Most trans fats are man-made fats added to processed foods to prolong shelf life. They have been shown to raise cholesterol and are not good for you. If you read a food label and it has the words ‘partially hydrogenated oil’ then it contains trans fats.
Sources of Trans Fats:(so you know what to avoid!): Vegetable oil, doughnuts, cakes, pastries, fast food, crisps
2. Saturated Fats
Found primarily in animal fat but also in coconut oil. These fats can behave positively or negatively in the body depending on the individual. In well trained individuals with good body composition and overall health, research suggests there are no dangers. In sedentary, overweight and stressed out individuals, research suggests saturated fats will likely behave differently and not provide any benefits (research still inconclusive).
3. Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats are good sources of fats and are found in avocado, olive oil and nuts. Aim to get your fat intake from mono (and poly) unsaturated fat.
4. Polyunsaturated Fats
Polyunsaturated fats are the best sources of dietary fat. These include omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which are found in large quantities in fish oil. Omega 3 is particularly beneficial. Aim to get a lot of your fat intake from oily fish.
Key Point: Aim to get your fat intake from mono and polyunsaturated fats.
How much fat should I eat?
Your fat consumption will be determined by your carbohydrate intake, which will in turn be determined by your activity levels. If your lifestyle requires a lot of carbohydrates (training regularly, high daily activity levels) then your intake of fat will be lower. If your carbohydrate intake is lower (perhaps because of an office job where you are seated for most the day) your intake of mono and polyunsaturated fats will be higher. That said, an office job is not an excuse to feast on fat, and because a source of fat is deemed ‘good’ it should not automatically be eaten morning, noon and night. Be sensible in your approach.
What do good sources of fats look like in my food diary?(Fat highlighted)
First Meal of the Day: Whole eggs, tomatoes and spinach for breakfast.
Mid-Morning Snack:Handful of almonds
Lunch: Prawn and avocadosalad.
Afternoon Snack: Olives and fruit.
Dinner: Salmon filletand vegetables.
Good Sources of Fats: Oily fish; avocado; nuts; seeds; coconut oil, olive oil.
This information is taken from Nutrition Simplified which you can download for free here