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Dietary Fats: The Basics (part 1)

the best healthy fats

Good versus bad fats, low fat diets versus higher fat diets, coconut oil is good, coconut oil is bad. Ahhhh!!! Sometimes hearing all the information available can give us a headache and leaves us confused. In this article I want to shed some light into the world of dietary fats. This article will just cover the basics; we will go into depth in future posts.

Dietary fat is important. It’s true, your body can make fat from other nutrients like carbohydrates consumed in excess. Nevertheless we still need to eat essential fatty acids.  You probably know them as omega 3 and omega 6. Now, while most people consume enough omega 6, getting enough omega 3 takes a more conscious effort. The next question is: how much fat you actually need? The answer: approximately 20-35% of your total caloric intake. For example for a 150lbs person it means 45 to 78 grams per day.

The right amount of body fat is important.  Body fat helps the body to regulate temperature, to protect vital organs, to carry fat soluble vitamins and act as a protective barrier around all your cell membranes.  Male athletes need a minimum of 6 to 13 body fat percentage while a normal man does well within a range of 14-24%.  For women, the recommendations increase to 14–20% for an athlete and 21-31% for a non-athlete. It’s up to each person to determine their own level of comfort within these recommendations.

Best fats come from plants, nuts and fish. Such type of fats can provide us with essential fatty acids without increasing our LDL, better known as bad cholesterol. Try walnuts, almonds, avocado, chia and sunflower seeds as well as olive, sunflower, flaxseed, and coconut oil. Also, fatty fish such as salmon provide you with omega 3.

Omega 3 provides health benefits beyond essential fatty acids. Much has been said about omega 3 and most of it is true. This fatty acid can help to reduce inflammation in your body thus resulting in a great form of dietary fat for those who exercise or have a family or a medical history of cardiovascular disease or arthritis

Body, rather than dietary fat provides a great source of energy in workouts.  For approximately the first 20 minutes of a workout, your body will use carbohydrates as the main source of energy; after that it will start using more of the fat already stored in your body. Of course, it depends or the intensity of the workout and duration. To burn fat is important to be able to obtain enough oxygen.

Next time we will explore some of the new trends in fats, coconut oil, chia and flaxseeds as source of fat and few others.


Recipe for health

 Balsamic Glazed Salmon*


4 oz Salmon

1 tsp Honey

¼ cup Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Non-stick cooking spray


1. Spray a skillet with non-stick spray over medium heat

2. Cook salmon on each side for 1-2 minutes

3. Whisk balsamic vinegar with 1 tsp honey in a small mixing bowl

4. Add mixture to pan and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes on low heat

*Recipe featured is part of SteelHouse meal plan

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