Facts About Fats

Fat is a component in some foods such as meat, poultry, pork, nuts, and some fruits. Other types of foods, including most fruits and vegetables, have almost on fat content.

Although it may seem like something that we shouldn’t eat, fat is an important part of the diet. Children need a certain amount of fat in their food (such as milk) so that their brain and nervous system develops correctly.

Experts suggest that kids between 6 to 8 years old should eat 48 to 60 grams of fat per day, while older kids between 9 and 12 should eat about 60 to 75 grams of fat in a day.

Meanwhile, babies need more, but kids older than 2 and adults should get less than 30% of their daily calories from fat. One way of determining how many grams of fat are in a food is through reading at the food label. For instance, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contains 16 grams of fat.

Are there types of fat?

Although food is sometimes categorized according to "regular," "low-fat," and "fat-free," fats are actually more complicated than that. Some types of fat are good for your health, while others may cause diseases concerning the heart. Also, fat in food helps people feel full, so they don’t eat as much.

  • Unsaturated fats – These are found in plant foods and fish. These may be good for the heart. The best of unsaturated fats are found in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, albacore tuna, and salmon.
  • Saturated fats – These fats are found in meat and other animal products, such as butter, cheese, and all types of milk except skim. It is also found in palm and coconut oils, which are often used in commercial baked goods. Eating too much of saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Trans fats These fats are found in margarine, especially the stick form. Trans fats are also found in certain foods that you buy at the store or in a restaurant, such as snack foods, baked goods, and fried foods. One indicator that the food has trans fats is that the ingredients list include "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils. Like saturated fats, eating too much of trans fats can raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.
     

Why do we need fat?

Dietary fat helps children’s bodies grow and develop like it should. Fat fuels the body and help absorb some vitamins such as vitamin A. They also are the building blocks of hormones and they insulate nervous system tissue in the body. However, it is best to consume fat-particularly unsaturated fat-with the right amounts.