If you thought carbohydrates were confusing, fats make them look easy by comparison. We will try to give you basic understanding with this article. For an in-depth understanding, we recommend reading The Omega Rx Zone by Dr. Sears.
Without fat in your diet, your body will not have the essential fatty acids it needs to give you energy, balance hormones, or control hunger. Plus, the fat in your 40-30-30 meal helps slow the digestion so that the carbohydrates are not absorbed as quickly, helping keep insulin levels from spiking.
So what fats should you eat? No surprise here: you need a balance. There are Saturated fats and unsaturated fats. There are also something called trans fats, which you should avoid. They are found in hydrogenated vegetable oils (like margarine). To make matters more complicated, there are several kinds of unsaturated fats, and each is important in it's own right.
FormulaZone shows you the fat content of each food. And, coming soon, FormulaZone will take it one step further and show you the types of fats in each food to help you balance your fat intake.
Saturated fats come from animals. The simple rule here is that they should be eaten in moderation. That doesn't mean cut out your meats, it means eat lean cuts of meat. Trim fat. Grill or broil to allow fat to cook off.
Unsaturated fats are actually divided into several categories. Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats. Both of these provide essential fatty acids. Mono fats provides Omega-9, while some poly fats provide Omega-6 and some provide Omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-9 fatty acids are found in Monounsaturated fat sources such as nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, and avacados. These should be a part of your fat intake.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in polyunsaturated fat sources such as vegetables and vegetable oils. These also should be a part of your fat intake.
Omega-3 fatty acids (in some polyunsaturated fats) are excellent, and are also somewhat more difficult to come by. The best source is salmon, but other fish such as tuna, sardines, and mackerel are a good source of this fatty acid.