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Macronutrients - Part 2 - Fat

Macronutrients are the nutrients that our body needs in large quantities to function well. There are three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Each is necessary for cellular building, repair, and proper detoxification. It’s important to consume each of these daily, and good quality macronutrients are important because your cells are literally made up of what you eat. In part two of this series we are going to focus on the role and importance of healthy fats in our body.

Our bodies require a diverse amount of fats to fuel and build our cells and tissues. Fats are crucial to so many bodily functions. We need fats to help absorb fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fat is a very satiating macronutrient, so it helps to keep our blood sugar levels stable and at the same time, keep us feeling full and satisfied for longer. Fats are needed to build cells, and are also used in building hormones. Also, practically, it helps to improve the taste and enjoyment of our food (butter makes it better).

There are three types of fat, and it’s important to make sure that you are consuming each of these as part of a healthy diet.

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is the most stable of all of the fats and is found in tropical oils and animal fats. Saturated fats are the best fats to cook with at high heat, because they are not easily damaged. This fat is solid at room temperature and is important to consume as part of a healthy diet. Good quality saturated fats (coconut oil, organic pastured eggs and dairy, organic and pastured animal fats) are a great source of fat soluble nutrients.

Monounsaturated Fat

Monounsaturated fat is relatively stable fat and is liquid at room temperature. This fat is found in olives, avocados, and some nuts. Monounsaturated fats are safe for low-temperature cooking, and should be stored in dark containers.

Polyunsaturated Fat

Polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and easily damaged by heat and light. These fats are broken up into Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. This type of fat is found in fish, flax, nuts and seeds. This type of fat is best eaten raw and should not be cooked (with the exception of fish).

Not all fats are created equal and it’s important to get a variety of each of these fats in our diets, while at the same time avoiding the damaged, overly-processed fats.

It’s also important to consider the quality of the fats that we are bringing into our diet. When possible you want to choose organic and oils that are stored in dark, glass containers.

Fat to Avoid

Fats to avoid are trans fats, seed oils, and overly processed fats. These are damaged and inflammatory fats. You can find trans fat in processed baked goods and snack foods, shortening and margarine, fried foods and anything that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Seed oils to avoid are canola, sunflower, safflower, and corn oil.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that we are all individuals,and the ratios of each of these fats in our diet, in order to achieve optimal health is going to vary. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of variety in our fat choices. Aim to get each of these in your diet everyday for optimal health!

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