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Fat in the Diet

We all need fat to live. Fat is a source of energy and essential fatty acids provided by our diet. We can´t synthesize them ourselves. But consuming too much fat leads to many different health problems. We know that fruits and vegetables by themselves are low in fat, but what about the rest of our diet? In a normal diet what are the main sources of fat?

A survey carried out by Agriculture Canada provides some insight into where we are getting our fat from. The survey is a bit dated (1992), but the trends are probably are still true to-day.

Source of Dietary Fat
Source % of total
fat sources
fats and oils:31.0butter, margarine, mayonnaise,salad dressing
bakery goods:9.5bread, rolls, cookies, cakes
fruits and vegetables: 2.0 
milk: 6.0 
dairy products:12.0cheese, ice-cream, yogurt
poultry and fish: 2.5 
meat substitutes: 7.0eggs, nuts, grains, peanut butter,beans
processed meat products:11.0 
meat: 8.5beef, porc, veal, lamb
other prepared foods: 8.0chocolate, etc.

It would be impossible possible to cut out all fats and oils from the diet. Nor would it make sense from a nutrtion point of view. What the list does do, is to put various sources of dietary fat into perspective. For example, meat is often thought of as a major source of dietary fat, when in reality careful choice of cuts of meat and avoiding frying meat, can mean that meat can be included in a well balanced diet, without adding excessive fat. A few small changes in food choice and food preparation can make a major change to total fat intake.

Dietary Choices
First Choice Fat Content Better Choice Fat Content
fettucine Alfredo15 gpasta with meat9 g
muffin12 g1 slice toast with butter or margarine5 g
broccoli with
cheese sauce
4 gboiled brocoli0 g

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