Dietary Fats: the Good and the Bad

Certain fats are necessary for your diet since the body needs energy. The main issue is to ensure you are eating the good fat and not the bad fats. The body needs fat to build nerve tissue, hormones and to help control inflammation.  Good fats play a major role in the absorption of vitamin A, D, E, and K available from your food intake. Some vitamins are fat soluble and must be dissolved before they can be used. Good fats have many health benefits that help lower the risk of developing several diseases.

Just like everything, too much of fat leads to weight problems like obesity since fat calories easily turn into body fat compared to proteins or carbohydrates. Fats also confuse a person’s appetite; you may fail to know when you are full so as to stop eating. Bad fat, on the other hand, is responsible for raising your total body cholesterol and increases blood pressure. The bad fat can increase your risk of some cancers, diabetes, and heart diseases.

The good fats

When monitoring your diet, you don’t need to avoid all fats; the good ones are necessary to promote your health when taken in moderation. Choose the healthier dietary fats and enjoy them while checking not to overeat. Every individual has a unique calorie need so you cannot apply another person’s calorie intake in your diet. Talking with a doctor or nutritionist can help you come up with the correct calculations that will assist in monitoring your daily calorie intake.

Even if your body takes in more calories than it needs, it will make its fat, whereas some fats are found in plant and animal food; these are known as dietary fat, the micronutrient that provides your body with energy.

Since fat is high in calorie compared to carbohydrates, if you eat more than you need, you will gain weight and excess weight leads to other health problems. Some dietary fats are also linked to the development of cardiovascular diseases. A lot of research has been done and continues to reveal more about the relationship between different types of fat to human health. Most of these research findings suggest focusing on eating healthy fats and avoiding the bad fat as much as possible.

Eating foods rich in monosaturated fat significantly improves the blood cholesterol levels, therefore, decreasing your risk of heart diseases. They may also benefit blood sugar control through managing insulin levels in the blood, excellent news to those who have type 2 diabetes.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids is another good fat that is found mostly in plant food and oil sources, this type of fat, according to research, improves the blood cholesterol levels. This leads to a decrease in the risk for cardiovascular diseases and may also help lower the risk for diabetes type 2. Omega 3 fats that are found in some fish species like salmon and tuna and is effective at decreasing the risk of developing coronary artery problems. There are some plant sources of omega 3 fats as well though they haven’t been well researched to determine if they can replace the fish oil. Foods with a higher percentage of mono and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperatures and  include peanut oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and olive oil.

Plant sources of omega 3 fats include ground flaxseed, nuts, seeds like sunflower, butternuts, and walnuts, and oils including soybean, flaxseed, and canola.

The bad fats

When talking of  healthy dieting and lifestyle, it is the bad fats that we are trying to eliminated as they pose a threat to the human life. These kinds of fat come mainly from animal food sources like red meat, full-fat dairy products, and poultry. It is known to raise the total cholesterol level and the LDL level which when not acted upon, potentially increases the risk for cardiovascular conditions and may also increase the risk for diabetes type 2.

Other bad fats include trans fat which is a naturally occurring fat found in some foods and mostly made from partially hydrogenating oils. These types of fat increase the LDL cholesterol levels and lower the good HDL resulting to increasing the risk of heart and arterial diseases.

Most of the fast that contains high percentages of trans fats or saturated fat are solid at room temperatures, therefore, are referred to as solid fats. These include pork fat, beef fat, shortening, butter, and margarine.

These ideas may just add more benefits.

Better avoid trans fats as they are not healthy and since they are mostly used on processed foods, it would be ideal to check food labels and the amount of trans fat listed. Any food containing less than 0.5 grams trans fat can be labeled 0 gram so check for the ingredients like “partially hydrogenated.”

Limit saturated fats in your diet to below 10 percent of all your daily calorie intake or better still totally replace your saturated fat with the healthier mono and polyunsaturated fats. Another issue should be not to over eat especially fatty foods even if they are the healthy type; you may end up with a weight problem. When it comes to cooking make it a habit and prepare food with oils instead of solid fats, for example, you can sauté with olive oil rather than butter and use canola oil for baking.

Consider eating fish like mackerel, salmon or tuna at least twice a week instead of meat or poultry to give you the healthy omega 3 oils. When preparing meat, choose the lean meat or skinless poultry, trim any fat you can see and remove the skin from poultry.

Also, check your snacks before purchasing. Most of the popular processed snacks are high in solid fats. It is better to snack on whole foods and fruits. Different food sources contain varying levels and types of fat so you should carefully monitor what you eat. For example, canola oil contains a high percentage of monounsaturated fat but also contain some polyunsaturated and saturated types.

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