April 2010

Balancing Fats and Oils

Cutting back on fat?
Getting enough fat?
How do you find a happy balance?

Fat is an important part of a healthful eating plan. It provides energy, fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids and it makes food taste good. The tricky part is the fine line between enough and too much.

It is also important to choose the more healthful–unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats can help lower blood cholesterol, but only when used in moderate amounts and in place of saturated fats.

To reduce your intake, switch to oils and margarines made from liquid oil.

Try to limit hydrogenated oils which have more saturated fat.

Why the need for vitamin A

Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin which promotes our eyesight and helps us see in the dark. It also aids in the differentiation of cells of the skin (lining the outside of the body) and mucous membranes (linings inside of the body). Vitamin A is important as it helps the body fight off infection and sustain the immune system, but it also supports growth and remodeling of bone.

If you body doesn’t receive the needed vitamin A, then you could become vitamin A-deficient, which can lead to night blindness, bone problems, reduced immune system and health, anemia and unhealthy skin.

How much vitamin A is needed?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is measured in retinol equivalents (RE), retinol being the active form of vitamin A.

For men – 1000 micrograms of RE per day
For women – 800 micrograms of RE per day

Where to get Vitamin A from?
Most people would first reach for their vitamin supplements, but the best way to get your vitamins is from your diet.

Richest Sources of Vitamin A:

liver oils,
milk products,

Other Sources of Vitamin A:

A variety of dark green and deep orange fruits and vegetables –
sweet potatoes,
butternut squash,
turnip greens,
bok choy,
mustard greens,

One thing to keep in mind – the absorption of vitamin A from the diet is improved when consumed along with some fat in the same meal.

Source: Go Ask Alice