Facts about Fats*

Wednesday, 7 June 2017, By Kasturi Kulkarni

"Fat" despite being the one of the main macronutrients, it is always considered as a bad rap. Fats or lipids play a very crucial role in a healthy, balanced diet. Without fats we would not be able to utilize fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and would be deprived of a major source of energy. Due to its slower absorption rate (5-8 hours) fat helps to balance blood sugar levels, maintains body temperature. Good fats help to reduce LDL levels which decrease the risk of stroke and heart disease. Including good quality fats in your meal, helps you feel full for a longer time and also assist in weight loss.

Types of Fats

  • Monounsaturated fats (Good fats)
  • Polyunsaturated fats (Good fats)
  • Saturated fats (Bad fats)
  • Trans Fats (Bad fats)

Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats

  • Helps to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Fats help balance the levels of cholesterol by decreasing bad(LDL) and increasing the good (HDL) cholesterol.
  • Provides essential fats that your body needs but can't produce itself.

Source: Plant based liquids oils, seeds, nuts and fatty fish.

Examples:

  • Oils: Olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil, Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, Mackerel, Herring lake trout, Sardines and Albacore tuna.

Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia, Pecans, Linseed, Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Chia Seeds.

Saturated Fats 

  • Can raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.
  • Can lower good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
  • Can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Source: Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods. The majority come mainly from animal sources including meat and dairy products.

Examples:

  • Meats: fatty beef, lamb, Pork, Poultry with skin.
  • Dairy: Butter, Milk, lard, cream and Cheese.
  • Take away: Fried foods and baked products.

Oils: Plant based oil such as palm oil; palm kernel oil and coconut oil also contain primarily saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol

Trans fats

  • Raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.
  • Lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
  • Increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
  • It is also associated with higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Source: There are two broad types of trans fats found in foods: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animal and foods made from these animals (e.g. milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats. Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.

Examples:

  • French fries
  • Anything fried or battered
  • Pie's
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Donuts

Another way to tell if the products contain trans-fat is to look at the list of ingredients. A food label must list the ingredients in order of quantity from most to least. If hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils are listed early on the list and before polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils, then the product contains lots of trans fats.

Fat isn't inherently "bad", in fact it is an essential nutrient needed for several bodily functions. Problems only occur when we consume few types of fat in great quantities. Consuming certain fats can bring tangible health benefits. Replacing saturated and trans fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can encourage good heart health and lowers the levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol. It is important to remember that fats are high in energy. 1 gram of fats contains 9 calories, whereas 1 gram of protein and carbohydrate contains only 4 calories. As such if you eat too much fats you might take on more energy, that can lead to weight gain. To avoid this try limiting your daily intake to your macros specified in your goal session and if you go over your fat macros, try to cut down carbohydrates to balance it out. Keep Your diet simple, real and well-balanced.





*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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