A good diet must meet all your nutritional needs on a daily basis. When you eat you aren’t just satisfying your appetite but giving your body the nutrients it needs to live. Nutrients are substances that the human body requires to perform different functions and that can only come from food.
For the human body’s processes to work there must be an exchange of energy. And our energy comes from carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the food we eat. An individual’s energy needs are the amount of energy he or she has to consume to make up for the calories burned.
Fats or lipids basically give the body energy and are essential to the proper functioning of your system. But it mustn’t be forgotten that, depending on the type and amount of fat you consume, you need to know how much is good for your body. Lipids can be your allies or some of the main enemies of your health. That’s why it’s essential to know what kind of fats there are and how much of them you must or can eat.
The healthy recommendation is for your everyday diet to contain no more than 30% fats.
Fats are divided into saturated and unsaturated types:
- Saturated fats:
These come mainly from animal fat (butter, cheese, fatty meat and egg yolk) and from some vegetable oils such as coconut or palm oil. Consuming too many saturated fats can be a cardiovascular risk factor.
- Unsaturated fats:
These are divided into monounsaturated fats (found mainly in olive oil, nuts and seeds) and polyunsaturated fats (among which Omega-3 stands out). Polyunsaturated fats cannot be synthesised by your body, so they have to come from what you eat. They are to be found mainly in oily fish and some vegetables.
Food labelling serves to inform consumers about the nutritional properties of a foodstuff. The label mainly mentions the grams of fat per 100 g of product.
However, depending on the amount of fat in the product you may find the following health claims:
Fat-free. A food can be declared fat-free if it contains no fat or if the product contains no more than 0.5 g of fat per 100 ml of product.
Low-fat. This can be used if the product has less than 1.5 g of fat per 100 ml of product.
Low in saturated fats. The declaration is allowed when the sum of saturated fatty acids and trans acids in the product is no more than 7.5 g of fat per 100 ml of product.
– Hábitos de Alimentación y Salud · Instituto Omega 3.
– ¿Qué nos dice el etiquetado de alimentos? Guía para su mejor comprensión. CECU (Confederación de Consumidores y Usuarios)