Fats and oils: The bad and the better

By: Joan Enderle, America Heart Association

All fats are not bad. In fact, dietary fats are essential to give your body energy and to support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, too. Your body definitely needs fat – but not as much fat as most people eat.

There are four major dietary gats in the foods we eat: saturated fats, trans fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. The four types have different chemical structures and physical properties. The bad fats, saturated and trans fats, tend to be more solid at room temperature (like a stick of butter), while the better fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fasts tend to be more liquid (like liquid vegetable oil).

All fats are energy-dense so consuming high levels of fat – regardless of the type – can lead to taking in too many calories. Consuming high levels of saturated or trans fats can also lead to heart disease and stroke. Health experts generally recommend replacing saturated fats and trans fats with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats – while still limiting the total amount of fat you consume.

Eating foods with a moderate amount of fat is definitely part of a healthy diet. Just remember to balance the amount of calories you eat with the amount of calories you burn. Aim to eat more vegetables, fruits whole-grain/high-fiber foods, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, and fish (at least twice a week). Doing so means that your diet will be low in both saturated fats and trans fats.

Many people wonder how many calories they should consume each day or how many grams of fat is healthy. The American Heart Association recommends that about 25-35 percent of your daily calories come from fats. Less than 7 percent of calories from saturated fat and less than 1 percent from trans-fat is recommended. Most of the fats you eat should be monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats.

Visit the American Heart Association’s “My Fats Translator” at http://www.myfatstranslator.org to get your personalized daily consumption limits for total fat, saturated fat and trans-fat. Just input your age, gender, height, weight and physical activity level.

Here’s a list of cooking oils that contain the best ratio of the “better-for-you” fats.
Canola oil was first introduced in the 1970s for home cooking and is made from seeds of the canola plant. It’s a great oil to have in your pantry because it is very versatile. Works well for sautéing, baking, frying, marinating and salad dressings.

Olive oil is a heart healthy staple of the Mediterranean diet and is made from ripe olives. “Extra virgin” is made from the first pressing of olives. “Light” olive oil is lighter in flavor and color but has the same amount of calories as extra-virgin. With a distinct flavor best uses include: grilling, sautéing, roasting, spreads for bread, base for Italian, Greek and Spanish dishes.

Peanut oil is made from shelled peanuts and is popular in Asian dishes as well as Southern cooking. With a high smoke point, peanut oil is used commonly for stir-frying, roasting, deep-frying or baking.

Sesame oil is made from sesame seeds and is a staple in Chinese, Korean and Indian cooking. With a nutty flavor, the light is used for stir-frying and the dark for dressings/sauces.

Vegetable oil is usually made from a combination of corn, soybeans and/or sunflower seeds and is another great oil to have on hand because it can be used for many different cooking techniques, including sautéing, baking, frying, marinating and salad dressings.

This article is brought to you by the American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking with Heart Program. For more articles and simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit heart.org/simplecooking.

Enderle is the communications and Go Red director in North Dakota for the American Heart Association.

Advertisements

Physical Activity vs. Exercise

“I don’t understand. I am busy and active with tasks all day long, but I just can’t seem to lose any weight.”

A common misconception is that physical activity and exercise are one and the same. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there is a very important difference in the purpose and outcomes.

Physical activity is defined as the process of exerting energy for a task. Exercise is physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning the body. Exercise is prolonged physical activity that is of a higher duration than typical daily tasks.

Many of us get physical activity during working hours or at home with chores. During this time the heart rate is increased above the resting state, but only for a few minutes. We work hard for a short interval followed by rest, allowing the heart rate to lower again. Incorporating this type of physical activity into your day is encouraged and beneficial. However, when it comes to a goal of improving cardiovascular health or weight management, your body needs planned and structured exercise.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adults are to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. An example of this would be to ride a bike for 30 minutes for days per week. It is also acceptable to accumulate this in short 10-minute bouts throughout the week. More exercise, 300 minutes per week, is recommended to improve health status or to reduce body weight.

Adults should also incorporate resistance training to improve muscular strength and endurance. Increased lean muscle tissue boosts the metabolism so that the body burns more calories even in the resting state. Strong muscles allow you to more easily complete regular daily activities, reduce fall risk and create an appearance of a toned body.

The annual New Year, New You community wellness challenge begins Monday. Get your co-workers, friends, or family together and form a team to compete within our community for a healthier lifestyle. The challenge is a great opportunity to start or support your current personal wellness plan through motivation, accountability, variety and education.

Registration information can be found at http://www.jrmcnd.com or call the Jamestown Regional Medical Center Wellness Center at 701-952-4891 for details.

2013 New Year New You Wellness Challenge

6x4_NYNYRegistration for the 2013 New Year New You Wellness Challenge is now open. This community wide six-week wellness challenge begins on January 7 and encourages participants to exercise and make healthy lifestyle changes in addition to promoting health awareness and enhancing education. Participants will create teams and gain points for healthy activities. Points are reported weekly to the appointed team CEO or leader. The team’s averaged point total is reported and ranked amongst competing teams weekly in the Jamestown Sun as well as online.

The wellness challenge has three divisions: large business, small business and friends and family. A small business is 15 or fewer participants and a large business is over 16 participants. This year the weekly topics will have a nutrition focus consisting of the following: hydration, portion control and calorie counting, fat, fiber, sodium and sugar. Each week there will be corresponding articles in the Jamestown Sun highlighting that week’s topic.

The cost to participate in the New Year New You Wellness Challenge is $8 per participant and includes a t-shirt. Participants will also receive a punch card to the James River YMCA to use through the duration of NYNY.  To join the 2013 New Year New You Wellness Challenge, go to www.jrmcnd.com to access registration forms for each of the three divisions. Deadline to register is Sunday, January 6, 2013. For more information go to www.jrmcnd.com or call the JRMC Wellness Center at (701) 952-4891.