We live in a “low-fat” world,
where everything from candy to TVdinners comes in low-fat versions. Thetruth is some fat has had a bad rap. “Weneed to eat fat,” says Greta Kubis, a HighRiver-based public health nutritionistwith Alberta Health Services’ NutritionServices. “It is required for optimalhealth. We need some small amounts offat in our diet, and we need specific fat inour diet.” What we need are “good” fats.
“Good fats are unsaturated fats,” Kubisexplains. And they come in two forms:polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.Polyunsaturated fats are commonly advertised as omega- 3 or omega- 6 fatty acids.
Good sources of unsaturated fats includeseeds, nuts, grains, fish and vegetableoils, such as canola, olive and soybean oil.Canola oil, for example, is high in monounsaturated fats, omega- 3 and omega- 6 andhas the lowest level of saturated fat of allvegetable oils. Dairy products also contain
Why the low-fat fad?
Some foods with good fat
• Vegetable oils:;canola,;olive,;peanut,;corn,;sunflower,;sesame;and;flaxseed
that young children drink fuller fat milk.”Children need concentrated sources ofenergy. As they grow older, you can lookat switching them to two or one percentmilk,” says Lee Finell, an Edmonton-based registered dietitian and nutritioneducator with Alberta Milk.
Good fats can also protect againstheart disease, for example, by reducinginflammation in the arteries of the heart,and reducing blood pressure. Some typesof fat are converted to other compounds,including hormones. In children, healthyfats are crucial to overall growth andbrain and vision development.
Getting the right fats into your dietisn’t just a good idea — it’s essential.“We call them essential fatty acids for areason,” Kubis says. Too little of themcan lead to reproductive problems, skinabnormalities and, contrary to whatmany think, heart disease. Kubis addsfat is also needed to carry and absorbfat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K — allvery important to health.
When making healthy fats a partof your diet, think fresh. You can useunsaturated fats in cooking or baking,but they are healthiest with a minimumof processing and cooking. This meansusing canola or vegetable oil is not agood excuse to start deep-frying.
To get the most benefits out ofhealthy fats, eat them in moderation.“We need to eat fat, but people have thetendency to eat more than we need,”says Kubis. Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating between 30 and 45 ml(two and three tablespoons) of unsaturated fats each day. That includes the fatin dairy, meat, fish and any oils used forcooking. — Abby;Miller