Let’s Talk About Fats

Fats seem to have a bad reputation. A few years ago the trend of non-fat food began. These non-fat food replaced fat with anything that would make it taste good, sugar, starch and other artificial replacements. Fat is usually the component that makes food delicious. That’s why most foods that are fatty and greasy seem so good.

Some fats can be bad for our body and some can be good. Distinguishing fat from one another can help us eat healthier. We need fat in our body to absorb nutrients and vitamins better, without fat our body can lose energy and make us feel hungry all the time. Fat also keeps our body warm and promote cell growth. Fat also helps produce important hormones and protect the organs. So, having a fat-free diet is not a good idea.

Distinguishing the bad from the good. There are three types of fat, saturated fat, trans-fatty acid and unsaturated fat.

The Bad

Saturated fat:
Usually found in animal fats, palm oil and dairy products. This type of fat is considered bad for the body. It can raise cholesterol levels, increase the risk of heart problems. This fat is hard to eliminate from the system. Prevent getting saturated fat from dairy, but opting to go fat free.

Trans-Fatty Acid:
Also known as Trans Fat are made through a chemical process hydrogenated oils. This type of fat is the worst of the worst and should never be a part of your diet. You will usually find this fat in processed food and fast foods. These fats are incredibly unhealthy, can cause obesity and can raise your cholesterol levels.

The Good

Unsaturated fat:
Unsaturated fat can be broken down into two types, the polyunsaturated fat and the monounsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat is usually found from natural sources such as plants, fish, nuts, and seeds. This is the good kind of fat. This fat keeps cholesterol levels balanced and improves heart health. This is the type of fat that the body needs to function properly.

Monounsaturated fats:
One type of unsaturated fat that is known to improve triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure, improve glucose levels and reduce cholesterol. You can monounsaturated fats in hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, chicken fat, olive oil and canola oil. You can find salad dressing and snacks that are filled with monounsaturated fat.

Polyunsaturated fat: This type unsaturated fat can be broken down into omega 3 and omega 6. Polyunsaturated fats can reduce inflammation, prevent tumor growth, improve immune system, reduce triglyceride and protect the body from heart diseases. Omega 3 can be found in flaxseeds, tuna, sardines, salmon and trout. Omega 6 can be found in sunflower oil, nuts, beans and sesame oil.

A simple way to distinguish them:
Saturated and trans-fat usually turns solid at room temperature. While unsaturated fats tend to keep a liquefied form.

Our body needs a total of 25% healthy fat in our daily diet. Adding a good splash of olive oil in your soup or eating an avocado is enough for your daily requirement. Even though unsaturated fat is good for the body, having it in excess can cause weight gain. Remember these types of fat when you are reading food labels. Anything that says shortening, hydrogenated oil is a big No-No. You don’t need to completely let go of your favorite food because of fat, just lessen consumption and incorporate more healthy fat in your diet.

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