Good fat, good fat burning

Not only is consuming "good fat" important to heart health, it's important to your body's fat-burning ability after aerobic exercise.

Exercise can help burn fat that you consume; that doesn't mean you should eat donuts, hot dogs and bacon (bad fat). A study looked at participants who exercised then consumed a meal half an hour later consisting of monounsaturated fat (good fat), and saturated fat (bad fat).

Researchers found that the participants burned much more monounsaturated fat after a 2-hour workout on a stationary bike. Metabolism of saturated fat did not change with exercise. Therefore, it's best to consume monounsaturated fat instead of saturated fat after exercise.

It is important to watch your portions of fat. Even if you exercise, you'll gain weight if you consume more calories than your body is able to burn.

Is it good or bad?

Pork has a reputation of being an unhealthy, high-fat meat. However, many cuts are actually 30-percent leaner than they were 20 years ago! Changes in breeding and feeding have resulted in the production of some very lean cuts that are a source of iron, B vitamins and zinc.

Well-trimmed pork tenderloin has 1.3 grams fat and about 0.5 grams saturated fat per ounce, almost as little fat as skinless chicken breast. Skinless chicken breast has about 1 gram fat and about 0.3 grams saturated fat per ounce.

Pork fat contains a little less saturated fat than beef or lamb fat. There are still 20 to 25 milligrams of cholesterol per ounce of pork, so it's still important to consume pork no more than three times a week. It is important to stick to lean cuts, which include tenderloin and loin.

The best way to prepare pork is to trim it prior to cooking and use low-sodium or sodium-free marinades. Many seasonings go well with pork - thyme, rosemary, pepper, garlic, ginger, oregano or mustard. Lean pork cooks quickly, so it's a good choice when you need a quick meal.

What about fatty acids?

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine released a report presenting the dietary reference values for the intake of nutrients by Americans and Canadians. This report included "Adequate Intakes" for linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid).

Guidelines recommend that women get 12 grams of linoleic acid and 1.1 grams of alpha-linolenic acid daily. Men are advised to get 17 grams of linoleic acid and 1.6 grams of alpha-linolenic acid daily.

The body cannot make these fatty acids, so we must obtain them from food. These fatty acids have been found to help with lowering cholesterol and cardiovascular risk.

Some sources rich in these types of fatty acids include soy oils, canola oils, nuts and seeds. Consuming good fat will help with good fat burning! Protein choices that contain these fatty acids include cold water fish such as salmon, tuna and swordfish.

Consider incorporating some of these choices in your meal plan daily. Meeting these recommendations can help with your weight loss and help prevent chronic disease.