So...is fat bad for you? What if I just didn't eat any fat...that would make me healthy, right? Does eating fat make me fat? These are some questions that I get asked frequently by college students. Fat is not bad for you, your body actually needs fat, and eating fat doesn't make you fat. Easy answers...but it is important to remember that fat does add up.
Fat comes from two different places: animals and plants. The fats from plants tend to be correlated with heart health and the fat from animals tend to be correlated with chronic disease. You should include plant fats into your diet daily in moderation. Switch from using butter when you cook to vegetable oils like olive oil, canola oil, and some of the more fun oils like peanut oil, sesame oil...the list can goes on. You can still enjoy fat from animals, but remember to use these fats in moderation.
Foods high in fat are also small in serving size, so fat can start to add up regardless of where it comes from. Adult men and women should limit their fat intake to 6-7 teaspoons in one day. Many people are able to reach this amount of fat in the foods they eat without having to actually add fat. Salad dressing, butter on bread, nut/seed toppings on salads, and mayonnaise are common sources of fat in the college dining hall setting. Let's compare the amount of calories in each food using a small spoon as the serving size (i.e. a spoon that you might eat a bowl of cereal with).
|1 spoonful regular salad dressing||22|
|1 spoonful butter for a roll||31|
|1 spoonful sunflower seeds||20|
|1 spoonful mayonnaise||28|
When you look at the calories of just one spoonful, it may not seem like a lot, but you may use 3-4 spoons of sunflower seeds, adding 80 calories to your salad while not adding a whole lot of volume (which will not do that much to help fill you up). Try switching mustard for mayonnaise on your next sandwich and you may save around 80-100 calories.
The point is, fat is not bad for you and a good part of healthy eating...but understand that the serving size is very small. Watch the video below to learn more about fat!