October 06 2021
Fats get a bad rap when it comes to a diet. This might be because certain fats and fat-like substances play a major role in cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and cancer. But remember that not all fats are the same. Some are good while some others are bad. Educating yourself about the difference between good fats and bad fats will help you to determine which fats you have to avoid and which have to be eaten in moderation.
Dietary fats are also known as fatty acids. They can be found in both plants and animals. Certain fats have a significant health benefit while some have negative effects on our health.
Just like carbohydrates and proteins, fats also play a major role in fueling your body with energy. Many body functions rely on fats. For example, some vitamins are fat-soluble and hence they require fat to dissolve in your bloodstream thereby providing you with the nutrients.
However, if you will eat too much fat, you will end up gaining extra weight. In various foods and oils, you will find a mixture of fatty acids. But what makes a food healthy or less healthy is the predominant type of fat present in it.
What are less healthy fats?
It has been found that saturated fat and trans fat are the two types of fats that are potentially harmful to your health. The food contains which fats are usually solid at room temperature. Examples of such food include butter, margarine, beef or pork etc. While saturated fats should be eaten sparingly, trans fats should be avoided.
Use saturated fats sparingly
Mostly, saturated fats are found in animal fats. Following are some sources of saturated fats.
- fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
- dark chicken meat and poultry skin
- high-fat dairy foods including whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream
- tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter)
Now, what will happen if you will eat an excess of saturated fats? Well, these saturated fats will increase your blood cholesterol levels along with LDL that is bad cholesterol level. Researchers have linked high saturated fat intake with a higher risk of heart diseases. A 2015 review of 15 randomized trials showed that if saturated fats in our diet are replaced by polyunsaturated fats, then heart disease risk can be reduced slightly. Though the risk reduction is low, surely these differences will make a significant difference to your health.
Avoid trans-fat when possible
Trans-fatty acids or in short trans fat are found in food that contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Trans fats are considered the worst fat for your health and hence whenever it's possible, try avoiding them. Following are some of the food sources of trans fat:
- fried foods like French fries, doughnuts and other deep-fried foods
- margarine (stick and tub)
- vegetable shortening
- baked goods like cookies, cakes, pastries
- processed snack foods like crackers, microwave popcorn
Like saturated fats, trans fats also raise your LDL, which is bad cholesterol. Also, it lowers the levels of HDL that is good cholesterol.
Trans fats are often associated with risk of inflammation in our body which results in heart disease, diabetes and stroke. The margarine, which is made up of hydrogenated ingredients contain trans fat. Hence make sure that you choose the non-hydrogenated version of margarine.
Now we have seen the label of "no trans fat" or " zero grams of trans fat" on various food items. Is it true that such foods contain zero trans fat? Well, the answer is no. The food companies are allowed to round down to zero if the amount per serving is less than 0.5 gm, despite still containing hydrogenated oils.
So next time make sure to read the ingredient list and ignore the front of package marketing.
Foods with good fats
The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered heart-healthy fats. You can add these fats to your diet as they won't have a negative effect on your health. Foods that primarily contain these healthy fats tend to be liquid at room temperature. For example, vegetable oil.
Monounsaturated fats can be found in many varieties of foods and oils. Researchers believe that foods containing monounsaturated fats can improve cholesterol levels as well can decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Following are some of the food sources that contain monounsaturated fats:
- nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans)
- vegetable oils (olive oil, peanut oil)
- peanut butter and almond butter
Since our body can not make polyunsaturated fats and we need to get to them from foods, these fats are also called essential fats. Polyunsaturated fats can be obtained from plant-based foods and oils.
Just like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats can also decrease the risk of heart diseases by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Omega 3 fatty acids are one such fact that in particular benefits your heart. Omega 3 fatty acids not only decrease the risk of coronary artery disease but they also guard against irregular heart rate along with helping in lowering the blood pressure.
Check out Alvizia CLA 1000mg Fat burner capsules. It is a type of polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty acid. Omega 6 fatty acid improves your heart health just like omega 3 fatty acid and improves the quality of living.
Following are the food sources containing omega 3 fatty acids.
- chia seeds
- canola oil
Omega 6 fatty acids are also beneficial for our health. Following are the food sources containing omega 6 fatty acids:
- roasted soybeans and soy nut butter
- seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
- vegetable oils like corn oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil
- soft margarine (liquid or tub)
New studies have shown that fats are more on a continuum of good to bad than previously thought. And hence it's a good idea to have foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in our diet. This will improve your heart's health thereby improving your quality of life.