FAT…the worst nightmare for any individual, irrespective of age or gender. Anyone who is health-conscious would certainly hate the word “fat”. However, what we do not understand is that despite being so notorious, fat is essential for the body, along with protein, fibre, and other classes of nutrients. We need fats and we cannot live without them. Fats are a significant part of a well-balanced diet. They nourish the body with essential unsaturated fatty acids, keep skin healthy, help absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and are an extraordinary store of energy. Nonetheless, it is not difficult to get befuddled by several fat-related questions. Like what are good fats and bad fats, what should be our daily intake of fat, what are trans fats and how do they choke our arteries, or what are monosaturated and unsaturated fatty acids, and what role do they play in our wellbeing? So let’s begin by answering one of the most asked questions:
Does dietary fat make us obese?
While many believe that it is fat (as a whole) responsible for obesity plaguing several continents, the truth is that fat is only one of the many factors contributing to obesity. In fact, obesity is much more complex in nature. Obesity does not result from the overeating of just one single nutrient, called fat. Obesity is the reaction incurred due to excessive consumption of calories and that could be from carbs, proteins, and sweet beverages. The inability to burn those calorie pile-ups is what causes obesity. Hence, fat in itself is not to be blamed. Obesity can also be a genetic inheritance from generations.
Quick facts on fat
Concerning food, fats are always criticised. Some portion of this criticism is justifiable because particular types of fat and fat-like substances, such as cholesterol, majorly contribute toward:
- Cardiovascular illness
- Cancer caused by malignancy
In any case, not all fats are equal. Realizing the difference between good and bad fats can help with figuring out which fats to keep away from and which to eat with some restraint. Dietary fat is found in both plants and animals. Certain fats cause adverse effects on the heart, yet others offer medical benefits.
Different kinds of fat
Two sorts of fats mainly, saturated fats and trans fats have been recognized as harmful to the well-being of any human body. These fats remain firm at room temperature, for example:
- Beef or pork fat
It’s necessary to keep away from trans fats and consume saturated fats frugally.
Most saturated fats are found in animal fats. Their amounts are high in meats and dairy.
These sources include:
- Greasy cuts of meat, pork, and sheep
- Chicken meat and poultry skin
- High-fat dairy food sources (milk, spread, cheeses of any kind, cream, frozen yoghurt)
- Oils (coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter)
Eating a lot of saturated fat can result in an increment in blood cholesterol levels and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Another way to say “trans unsaturated fats” is trans fats. Trans fat shows up in food sources that contain somewhat hydrogenated vegetable oils. These are the most unhealthy fats for the human body. Trans fats can be found in:
- Foods that are deep-fried (french fries, doughnuts, broiled quick food varieties)
- Vegetable shortening
- Baked sweet treats (cakes, cookies, cupcakes)
- Processed foods (saltines, microwave popcorn, processed meats)
Like saturated fats, trans fats can also raise LDL cholesterol levels, otherwise called bad cholesterol. Moreover, trans fats can stifle HDL cholesterol levels or good cholesterol.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are more “heart-healthy” fats. These fats are necessary additions to a healthy eating routine. These fats are usually in a liquid state at room temperature, for example, vegetable oil. Here is a list of good fats for you to pick up and incorporate into your daily diet:
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts)
- Olive oil and peanut oil
- Peanut and almond butter
- Chia seeds
- Canola oil
- Soya beans
These fats help reduced cholesterol, regularize the heart’s rhythm, and reduce inflammation. These are essential for the body’s well-being.
Hence, while trans fat is certainly unsafe for our health, saturated fats are not connected with coronary illnesses. Nevertheless, they aren’t entirely the healthier option either when compared to unsaturated fats. Good fats are a significant part of the healthy eating regimen, yet it is essential to direct their consumption, as they are all high in calories Subsequently, it is a smart idea to fuse food sources that contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. A methodology that will help the heart and life in the long run.
For more on the subject, here are a few heart-healthy foods to incorporate into your diet.
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