Fats and the Med Way

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Fat. I think a lot of us have a negative connotation with that word. But is it truly justified? Maybe, just maybe, fat can be a good thing!

When it comes to eating, fats enhance the flavor, texture and aroma of foods. That’s definitely a good thing. However, fat is the most concentrated source of dietary energy, with nine calories in a gram of fat. So, it’s up to us to balance the positives and negatives of fat in our diet.

To begin making good decisions about fat, we need a little background. Some things that we know for sure are: replacing saturated fat with poly/mono unsaturated fat HAS positive health benefits; consumption of a low-fat diet is NOT associated with a decreased risk of chronic disease nor is it associated with lower weight; and there is NO safe level of trans fat.

Unsaturated fat is generally found in plants or seafood. It’s shown to have health-promoting properties. These fats can be found in salmon, nuts, seeds, avocados, vegetable oil, canola oil and olive oil. These are the good fats!

Saturated fat is found in animal products and do not have health-promoting properties. These fats are found in butter, lard, cheese, red meat and coconut. These are not good fats!

Finally, Trans fat can be found in processed food, fried food, baked goods and convenience and freezer food. These fats are shown to be harmful to health. These are the worst fats!

If we’re looking to enjoy fat in our food and take the healthiest route, it stands to reason we need to replace saturated fat and trans fat with unsaturated fat. But, hey! Nuts, seeds, avocados, fatty fish and olive oil sound pretty good to me!

Med Instead of Meds recommends we get four tablespoons of olive oil per day. That may sound like a lot, but we’re talking about swapping the fats we are currently eating for olive oil, not adding olive oil to the fats we’re already eating. We can do this by cooking with oil instead of solid fats, dressing salads with healthy oils and replacing solid fat with healthy oils in recipes.

For more information and lots of delicious recipes, check out medinsteadofmeds.com. Here is a sample:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This is an amazing vegetarian side dish. Feel free to add a small amount of turkey bacon for added flavor if you wish.

Serves 4
Serving Size: ¾ cup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
Total Time: 35-45 minutes


  • 1 pound (approximately 4 cups) Brussels sprouts
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 turkey bacon slices, cut into ¼ inch pieces and cooked until crispy (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  2. Clean and trim Brussels sprouts. Cut any very large heads in half through the core. Tip: Save the outer leaves that fall off and bake those along with the rest of the sprouts, they get extra crispy and are delicious!
  3. Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat.
  4. Pour the Brussels sprouts onto a large sheet pan in a single layer.
  5. If you are including the turkey bacon, evenly sprinkle the cooked bacon pieces over the Brussels sprouts.
  6. Roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time, until lightly browned.
  7. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
(Based on including turkey bacon)

  • Serving Size: ¾ cup
  • Vegetables: ¾ cup
  • Fruits: 0 cups
  • Calories: 195 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 11 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Sodium: 123 mg

Written By

Dee Furlough, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDee FurloughArea Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Dee E-mail Dee N.C. Cooperative Extension, Tyrrell County Center
Updated on Jan 20, 2021
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