How to Choose Your Fats

North-American diets are known to be much too rich in fat. This extra fat consumed every day predisposes us to being overweight and, over time, to many cardio-vascular diseases and certain types of cancer. 

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t eat any fat. We must simply learn what quantity is appropriate. Lipids (or fat) contained in foods are our external cholesterol source. Cholesterol, a raw material essential to our organism, is at the base of cell function and certain hormones. Our body is only able to produce 85% of the cholesterol we require. We get the missing 15% from our food. However, if our consumption of lipids exceeds our needs, our body will store the surplus in the form of fat. 

Our food consumption should be composed of only 30% fat. That comes to a daily consumption of about 60 grams for women and 90 grams for men. For instance, a teaspoon of olive oil represents 5 grams of fat, a cup of ice cream contains 10 g and a chocolate glazed donut corresponds to about 20 grams. This fat can be visible to the naked eye (fat around meat, poultry skin), hidden in foods (cheese, pastries) or added (salad dressing, margarine or butter). 

Preferred Sources of Fat:

  • Monounsaturated fats:
    Olive, nut and canola oils, margarines made from these oils, avocados, olives. 
     
  • Polyunsaturated fats:
    Vegetable oils (sunflower, corn, soya), fish, wheat sprouts. 
     
  • Phytoestrogens: 
    Tofu, soya products, leguminous plants, sunflower and sesame seeds.

Sources of Fat to be Avoided

  • Saturated fats:animal fats, shortening. 
     
  • Trans fats: hydrogenated oils (found in cookies and crackers, fried foods and certain margarines).

Carefully choosing your fat source is a great start to a well-balanced, healthy diet. Do you have questions about your food, cholesterol level or related diseases? Talk to your pharmacist. He or she will know how to advise and inform you on the subject.

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