#4: Healthy Plate Method – All About Fats

Listen in as Sieger Giroux, a MOVE! Dietitian, give much needed guidance on saturated and unsaturated fats. Helping us incorporate those into the healthy plate method.
Fat has had a very strange, political, and controversial history. In order to get down to what’s important, we need to navigate through the confusion. 

Fat is one of our macronutrients (along with protein and carbohydrates), and it is an essential part of our intake. It has many functions within the body, including organ protection, providing fuel, coating nerve cells, making up organs (our brains are roughly 60% fat), making up cells (lipid bilayer), nutrient & phytochemical absorption, skin/hair/nail health, hormone balance, etc. 

As with anything diet related, the first step is to evaluate the source of your food. Are you eating mostly real, whole foods from nature, or processed, refined foods from the grocery store shelf? Good sources of fat are going to come from those whole food options. 

Step one- Continue to eat real, whole foods, and follow a system (such as the healthy plate) to guide you to a balanced intake. 

Step two- Include good sources of fat, such as olives & olive oil, avocados, nuts & seeds, fatty fish, coconut oil, eggs, dairy, minimally-processed meat, and even butter (especially if it’s grass fed and organic). Remember that, although we shouldn’t fear fat from animals, we should still get plenty of our fat from antioxidant-rich plant-based foods. Balance is important. 

Step three- Avoid the following sources of fat: fast food, fried foods, heavily processed meats, processed/packaged foods such as TV dinners and box meals, refined sugars & sweets  (including sugar from fluids), highly processed vegetables oils such as soy, corn, and safflower, as well as Crisco and other hydrogenated oils. 

The sources we choose to get our fat from, as well as the overall quality of our diet & lifestyle, will make a huge difference on whether that fat will be helpful or harmful. Eat well!

Host Bio: Sieger Giroux MS, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian with a dual-master’s degree in exercise science from SIU Carbondale. Sieger also worked as the sports nutritionist for Saluki Athletics during his second year of graduate school. He has been with the VA since 2015, and has helped cover various positions & programs such as MOVE!, RRTP, outpatient, inpatient, Home-Based Cardiac Rehab, etc. He enjoys all aspects of nutrition, but specializes in helping Veterans simplify the process of achieving better health through positive lifestyle changes.