By Helaine Krasner, RD, CDN

Fat is an important part of our diet.  In addition to providing flavor and helping us feel full longer, fat provides important functions.

Why is fat important?

  • We need fat to produce hormones, to help support cell walls, and for healthy skin and hair.
  • Healthy fats lower our risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Vitamins A, D, E, and K are absorbed with the aid of dietary fat.

What kinds of fats are best?

  • Healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
  • These are found in nuts, seeds, and vegetables such as olives and soybeans.
  • Oily fish such as salmon provide important omega 3 polyunsaturated fats.
  • Plant sources of omega 3s are flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
  • Omega 3s in particular help reduce cardiovascular risk and can reduce joint pain.

Avoid unhealthy fats

  • Harmful fats include saturated and trans fats, which increase cardiovascular disease risk.
  • These are found in fried foods, fatty meats and full fat dairy products like cheese and butter.
  • Avoid products that contain partially hydrogenated oils, which are considered trans fats.
  • These are especially harmful because they not only raise your bad LDL cholesterol but also lower your good HDL cholesterol.

Beware of too much fat:

  • Fat has more than twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrates, providing 9 calories per gram versus 4 calories for protein and carbohydrates.
  • Include a small amount of healthy fat in each meal or snack. Try a little avocado in your salad or use instead of butter on your toast.  Make those apple slices more satisfying by dipping them in some natural peanut butter.

Try these sources of healthy fat, but pay attention to portion size:

Avocado ¼ fruit 60 cal 5 gms fat
Peanut butter 1 tbsp 95 cal 8 gms fat
Olive oil 2 tsp 80 cal 9 gms fat
Walnuts ½ oz 93 cal 9 gms fat
Salmon 3 oz 175 cal 5 gms fat



Helaine Krasner is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who takes great pride in helping our Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients achieve their health and weight loss goals.