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Fats 101: An overview of fats, why we need them and how to make smart choices

Ever get confused about fats? According to recent consumer research from the International Food Information Council (IFIC), you are not alone. Over the years, we’ve been bombarded with advice to choose low-fat options, but then we see reports on the importance of consuming ‘good’ fats.

This infographic was designed to help simplify things.

Fat is an essential nutrient in the diet. Our bodies use it to provide energy, to make hormones and other molecules, and it also insulates and plays a structural role, protecting cells and organs. In addition, fats help to fill us up at mealtime. All are important reasons to include fat in our diets.

But it is more complicated than that because fats come in a variety of types. This is what can cause confusion. To clarify, there are saturated fats, unsaturated fats and trans fats. Both saturated and unsaturated fats play important roles in the body, but balance is key. In general, consuming less saturated fat (from meat and dairy) while consuming more unsaturated fat (from avocados, fish and nuts as an example) is considered healthy. Intake of trans fat, found in snacks and confections, should be minimized.

Consumption of unsaturated fats should be balanced too. Unsaturated fats can be further divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. There needs to be balance in the types of polyunsaturated fats we consume. This is especially challenging because many of the vegetable oils in foods we eat are high in Omega-6 and low in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. So, over the past few decades our Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio has become unbalanced to levels that are considered unhealthy.

Nutriterra® Total Omega 3 was designed to help rebalance your fat intake. Nutriterra oil is rich in Omega-3 and lower in Omega-6 fats to make it easier to consume a healthier ratio.

Fat facts infographIC