You hear fats and fatty foods and people trying to lose weight immediately cringe at the thought of consuming fats. True, consuming fatty foods is what causes weight gain, but what not most of us know is that fats are actually needed by the human body to function well.
Fats are nutrients that give you energy. Fats also help in the absorption of certain vitamins like A, D, E, and K. It would be unhealhty to completely eliminate fats in our diet, but the real key, actually, is to know what to consume (as there are so many of their types), how much to consume, and where to get them.
You may have heard that there are “bad fats” and “good fats” so, let’s examine and find out which can be actually bad for our health. Here are the type of fats, their sources, and their effects to our body:
First, let’s look at the “bad fats.”
Saturated fats are said to be one of the bad fats because they are known to increase the body’s level of cholesterol. While it is true that excessive intake of saturated fats can indeed increase the level of our body’s cholesterol, this type of fat is also the body’s main source of energy. It is mostly found in animal foods such as milk, cheese, and meat, but poultry and fish have less saturated fat than red meat. Beware of the skin and dark meat of poultry, full-fat dairy and fatty cuts of beef and pork as they are sources of ample saturated fats.
Saturated fat intake should be based on energy needs and physical activity levels. The USDA recommends that healthy adults over the age of 19 consume between 20 and 35 percent of their daily calories from fat. Young children (ages 1 to 3 years) need as much as 40 percent of their daily calories to come from fat. If you eat a diet of 2,000 calories per day, ingest between 44 g and 77 g of total fat daily.
Trans Fats, found in processed foods such as snack foods, such as chips and crackers, fries and burgers, can increase the shelf life of fat and can definitely provide distinct flavor to the food, but that doesn’t mean that it’s good for one’s health. Trans fat can raise your cholesterol, so eat as little trans fat as possible.
Both Saturated fat and Trans Fats can assume solid form when in room temperature.
And here are the “good fats”:
Unsaturated fats come mostly from oils from plants. Studies have shown that unsaturated types of fats help decrease inflammation, reduce heart disease, reduce blood clotting and help regulate blood pressure. Unsaturated fats are also known lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good cholesterol (HDL). There are two types of unsaturated fats-monounsaturated fats are fats found in vegetable oils like as canola, olive, and peanut oils. Polyunsaturated fat can also found in plant sources such as safflower, sunflower, sesame, soybean, and corn oils but it is also the main fat found in seafoods. You can get Omega-3 fatty acids from plant food like soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, and flaxseed butif you shun vegetables, an alterantive is to consume fatty fish and shellfish like salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, mackerels , trout with the last two known to be lower in mercury content. Omega-3 is known to play an important role in maintaining a healthy skin, reproduction, immune function, development of the brain and decreasing the risk of heart attacks.
A healthy diet includes 8 ounces or more of these types of fish a week, averaging 250 mg a day of these omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-6 fatty acids, which according to research could be helpful to conditions like diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), breast cancer, hypertension ,multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis, are found mostly in liquid vegetable oils like soybean oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil.
For most, it can be extremely difficult to forego consumption of the “bad fats”, but, like what we’ve always heard before, anything that’s done or taken excessively can be a bad thing. Though it is recommended to consume more unsaturated fats, there is no harm in eating food in minute amounts of saturated and trans fats, as they’re not harmful in small amounts.
Fats have 9 calories in each gram.