Fats are just like sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, an essential nutrient for the body. This means the body cannot function properly without them. Fats are mainly a source of energy and help the body absorb several vitamins, like vitamin A, D and E. Under normal, healthy circumstances we get 20-40% of our energy from fats. There is a distinction between unsaturated and saturated fats, and we often find those two to be combined in our food.
The presence and the amount of fat(s) in our blood is what determines our cholesterol levels. We know that saturated fats are one of the main causes for high cholesterol. Having high cholesterol levels increase the risk at cardiovascular diseases.
Nutrition experts have determined that the amount of energy we need to burn these fats is approximately 40%. So if the average person requires 2000kcal a day, you will have to consume at least 800kcal of fats. Of course this amount will be different if you perform heavy manual labor, or are an athlete as an example. It‘s a guideline.
To counter the main cause of high cholesterol values, the saturated fat, you are advised to:
- Consume products like skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt and lean meat, such as chicken.
- Use soft or fluid fats for roasting and frying, instead of solid fat.
- Or the most logical approach… eat less products that consist mainly of saturated fats, like snacks, pastries, cookies and chocolate
It’s a fairly routine process these days to have your cholesterol levels tested by your doctor, so if you have an opportunity to have these levels checked on a regular basis, that would be the best way to keep track of your health and to continue your road to a healthier lifestyle.