You will hear this every time “Please avoid as much fat as you can in your diet, they are not good for your health, makes you fat and gives you heart diseases”. This is just a myth. Fats are an essential part of our healthy diet and they aid in the development of good health. Not all fats are considered bad. One does not need to eliminate all the fat from his diet. They support so many functions in our bodies. We need them as some vitamins need fats to dissolve. They provide us with essential fatty acids, gives us energy and keeps our skin soft. But when choosing fats, one must know which one to choose healthy fats or unhealthy fats.
Types of Fats:
There are different types of fats. Some fats are produced by our own body, some of our found in plants and animals. They are described with their effects and type below:
Trans fat and Saturated fats are considered harmful. They both are solid at room temperature.
Trans fat occurs naturally in small amounts in some foods. But most of them are made from oils through a food processing method called partial hydrogenation. This can increase unhealthy cholesterol and they can also increase HDL cholesterol (High-density lipoprotein). They are not considered good for health and are found in beef, pork, margarine, and some other meat products.
The saturated fats are full of hydrogen atoms and do not have double chemical bonds in their structure. They are usually solids at the room temperature. They are found in different kind of foods. The sources are meat, some plant oil like coconut oil and palm kernel, cheese, milk and butter, some processed meats and from cookies, chips, and pastries. Saturated fats are not considered good fats and are recommended not to take more than 5 percent to 8 percent in our daily intake.
The unsaturated fats are not full of hydrogen atoms and have one or more double chemical bonds in their structure. They are usually liquids at the room temperature. They are considered healthy fats. They have further types:
Monounsaturated fats: They are mostly liquid at room temperature. These types of unsaturated fat consist of one double bond in their structure. Canola Oil and Olive oil are examples of monounsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats: They are also liquid at room temperature. They consist of two or more double chemical bonds in their structure. This includes sunflower oil and corn oil.
It is recommended to take unsaturated fats over saturated fats.
Omega-3 fatty acids:
They are a type of polyunsaturated fats. This is found in some fish like Salmon, trout, tuna, and sardines. They can also be taken as supplements like Fish oils or Fish liver oils. Some plants are also a good source of omega 3-fatty acids. They are found in canola and soybean oils, nuts and walnuts and sunflower seeds. They reduce the risk of artery diseases.
Hence, one must choose healthy fats over harmful fats to avoid health issues. One must not completely remove harmful fat from his diet. It is also very harmful. Just take everything in the appropriate amount.