Fats - Not Bad!!!
We have always been confused about eating fats, as we think eating fats would lead to weight gain and considered it as the root cause of heart problems and obesity. With latest research, it is suggested that not all fats are bad and they have many important functions in our body.
The aim should be to make the balance of fats and other nutrients in the body and eat the healthiest of them!
In this blog, we will attempt to give you a review of the kinds of fats and their relative merits!
So, what are fats – Fats are greasy substances found in the tissues of animals and some plant products; and form one of three key macronutrients for humans (other two being carbohydrates and proteins). All fats are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules.
The basic purpose of fats is to act as storage of energy in body tissues which can be called upon to supply energy for the maintenance of body and its functions when other sources are not sufficient or unavailable. (example when we don’t eat food for long-duration – body starts using fat reserves for its energy needs). It has many other important functions - it supports immune functionality, maintain healthy skin, hair and nails and helps to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins. Fats like Omega – 3 fatty acids and MUFA are also important for brain health. Fats like cholesterol works as a building block for creating hormones.
Fats are usually classified into three main categories – Saturated Fats, Trans Fats, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats:
Best fats for health?
Basically, fats that support cardiovascular health, helps in balancing hormone and fights inflammation are considered as good fats. Here is a breakdown of the current research on certain fats.
1. MONOUNSATURATED FATS
When it comes to heart health, monounsaturated fats are considered good. Chemical structure of monounsaturated fats makes them liquid at room temperature and gets gradually solid when chilled. Food that contains mostly monounsaturated fats are – Olives and its oil, Avocado, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Cashews and few animal fats.
MUFA reduces bad cholesterol and increases HD and also reduces oxidation, inflammation, improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood pressure.
2. POLYUNSATURATED FATS (OMEGA -3)
Omega – 3 belong to a group of fats called polyunsaturated fats. Due to their chemical structure, they are liquid at both room and refrigerated temperature. They are sensitive to light and heat and vulnerable to oxidation and rancidity therefore they are kept refrigerated and should not be used for cooking. Omega – 3 fats are important for our immune system. We cannot synthesize omega – 3 in our body, we need to get it from our diet. Researchers says that omega -3 from fish could reduce heart diseases and is a key nutrient for fighting inflammation associated with several diseases.
Worst fats for health?
1. Trans Fats
Universally considered as bad fats. There are two main types – Artificial and naturally occurring:
1.1 Artificial trans fats
Trans fat is made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oil or you can say hydrogenation
Referred to as hydrogenated fats on food labels.
Found in many processed foods like – fast food, refrigerated dough products, cookies, frozen pizza and many more!
Artificial trans-fat increases the risk of cancer, obesity and other inflammatory conditions even taken in low doses.
1.2 Natural Trans Fats
Found in small amounts in meat and dairy products.
Associated with lower risk of cardiovascular and cancer disease and also helps in weight loss.
2. Saturated Fats
Saturated with hydrogen molecule and contains only single bonds between carbon molecules
Considered bad because of their ability to increase LDL cholesterol.
Intake of saturated fats should be minimized because its high consumption could increase certain heart diseases
But researchers’ previous studies say that saturated fats may not be so harmful. They are categorised by their carbon chain length – long, medium and short-chain.
Long-chain saturated fats are found in dairy products and meat of cows and sheep. One long-chain saturated fat actually shown to lower LDL cholesterol.
Medium-chain saturated fats are found in coconut and breast milk. These fats are absorbed faster than long-chain SF and is a quick source of energy.
Short-chain is found in butter and ghee and serves as fuel for the cells of our colon.
In conclusion, when it comes to fats, it is recommended to err on the side of caution i.e. consume a wee bit lesser than how much we would like to. But don’t think about eliminating them from your diet because they are necessary for sustaining life - essentials for our health and bodily functions. You can decide which fats to consume and how much based on your lifestyle and daily RDA.
Frugivore has different and almost every type of fresh and non-fresh products consisting of each type of fat. Shop for good fats and consume as per your RDA. More importantly please read the label before consumption and decide whether you want to consume the type of fat in the food packet.
Be informed and stay healthy!
Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. It is meant for general information and is not a specific advisory. Please consult your physician/dietician, if in doubt.
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