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Consume Fats in Moderation

Por Nydia Rivera Alcaide* -

Most people, if they had the choice between a tasty salad and a juicy fried cutlet, without giving a second thought to the consequences, would most likely pick the fried cutlet.

The smell, color, and flavor of fried foods stimulate our taste buds. What we don't realize is that our diet is often made up of foods that are already high in fat, and that cooking with fat increase the amount.

This is not to say that fat is bad. However, we need to learn how to eat fats while keeping in mind how much and what kind of fat we're eating on a daily basis. In addition, remember that not all fats are created equal.

"Eliminating fats completely from our diet is simply not healthy. Fats belong to a very important nutritional group and they should be included as part of our daily diet, but only in the necessary amounts and types," pointed out doctor and nutrition specialist at MyDiet™, Eleazar Lara-Pantin.

"In addition to being a concentrated source of energy, fats help transport nutritional components that are essential for life, such as necessary fatty acids and vitamins (A, D, E and K)," added the doctor.

Avoid excess

The daily recommended intake of fats should make up between 20 to 30% of your total daily calorie intake. Keep in mind that this percentage, in addition to guaranteeing a necessary minimum amount, should also be a guide to prevent over consumption of fats. Eating excess amounts of fat can increase one’s risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol and cancer.

Excess fat circulates in the blood in many different forms. Some of these can be in the form of triglycerides and cholesterol. When they accumulate on the arterial walls, they cause atherosclerosis which is the basis for heart attacks and cerebrovascular diseases.

"Without a doubt, exceeding the recommended 30% of fat intake greatly increases the risk of chronic diseases whether it is due to the increased number of fat deposits in the body or to the accumulation of fats on the arterial walls," emphasized doctor Lara-Pantin.

Sources of fat

Fat is not only found in oils but also in many of the foods that make up our daily diet. Some examples are meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.

To lower the amount of fat in the food you eat:

  • Take off the skin from chicken.
  • Trim any visible fat from beef or pork before cooking.
  • Put your cooking skills to the test and try different cooking methods such as baking, boiling or grilling.

Keep in mind that if you buy low-fat foods at the store or if you take the visible fat off before cooking, but then fry foods in a lot of oil you can still exceed  the amount of fat you need in a day. “The type of oil you use is also important. Choose vegetable oils, and try to choose those that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil and corn oil," explained the MyDiet™ nutrition specialist.

Beat the fat

If you decide to cook a meal that requires oil, and are also eating other foods that contain fat, try not prepare the food in such a way that you maintain a low fat content.

For example, doctor Lara-Pantin pointed out, that if you are in the mood for eating fried food, allow yourself to have some, but balance it with other healthy choices. For instance, you can eat fried potatoes, but eat them with roasted meat and a salad dressed with vinegar or lemon and just enough drops of olive oil to give it the special flavor and aroma you love.

You will find that you can prepare and continue to eat delicious foods without overindulging in the amount of fat.


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