Fat-What Kind and How Much to Eat

After about a week of research I have come to the firm conclusion that the definitive answer to this question is: “Nobody really knows!” I have learned a large amount of data that can be contradictory. I have even learned that an entire scientific journal exists on the subject of fat metabolism. What I am going to do is give a little background and the best evidence I was able to find.

When it was discovered that eating saturated fats increased the amount of LDL, which has in turn been linked to an increase in heart attack, the recommendations were to reduce the amount of saturated fat eaten. Fat is high in calories. Since we need a certain amount of calories each day if we reduce one source then we increase another. It seems that carbohydrates were what we increased. It also seems that the cure was worse than the problem. Long term studies of large numbers of people seem to indicate we should reduce the amount of saturated fats but replace them with unsaturated fats. It seems the liberal use of unsaturated fats is not bad for you, but it actually seems to be good for you. One quick word of caution is that fats have almost twice as many calories per gram as protein and carbohydrates so they can add weight if you substitute gram for gram.

If you eat a 2000 calorie diet, based on the recommendations I found these numbers are close. Remember if you increase the amount of fat you eat you need to lower the amount of protein or carbohydrate or you will gain weight. Also these are suggested as the upper amounts. You can eat about 7.5g of saturated fat and about 25g of unsaturated fat per meal. For breakfast if you had 2 eggs and either 1oz of sausage or 2 strips of bacon you would be at about 5.5g of saturated fat and 9.2g of unsaturated. So the nutritional evil of bacon and eggs although it is low in the good fats it is still better for you than the high sugar pastry and the small amount of saturated fats is not starvation level. For my ice cream junkies out there a serving (1/2 cup) of Bryers chocolate only has 4.5g unsaturated so you can enjoy in moderation. However it’s not all the same, a large Coldstone averages about 30g of saturated fat. Please learn to read labels. Although I will provide some generalities, all fats seem to be a mixture of saturated and unsaturated. For example a tablespoon of butter has 7g saturated and 3.4g unsaturated, while a tablespoon of olive oil has 2g saturated and 11.4g unsaturated. So when I say butter is a saturated fat and olive is an unsaturated fat I am talking about the dominant component.

Monounsaturated Polyunsaturated Saturated
Olive oil Nuts and seeds Animal fats (meat)
Peanuts/ oil/ butter Corn oil Dairy fats
Avocadoes Fish oil/ fatty fish Butter
Canola Soybean- safflower-sunflower-cottonseed oils Cocoanut oil
Almond oil Sesame oil Palm oil/palm kernel oil
Walnut oil   Lard