Not all fats are the same! Here’s how to tell which ones your body needsPosted on:11 July 2021, 12:00pm IST
Whether you want to make changes to your diet for weight loss or to become healthy, the first nutrient to be cut out is usually fat. Well, you might need to rethink your decision because, contrary to popular belief, your body requires a minimum amount of dietary fat to regulate the functioning of hormones and memory, to protect the internal organs, and in the absorption of specific nutrients.
Dietary fats, also known as fatty acids, are not just a source of energy. They also function as the structural building blocks of the body. However, calories from eating fat-based foods in excess can lead to weight gain.
To understand the key role that fats plays in keeping us healthy, we need to take a closer look at three types of dietary fats:
- Saturated fats
- Unsaturated fats (Monounsaturated fats and Polyunsaturated fats)
- Trans fats
Here’s how these three different types of fats affect the body:
1. Saturated fats
Saturated fat is also called ‘bad fats’. Consuming saturated fats in excess can raise your cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart diseases. It’s primarily found in animal products like beef, pork, and high-fat dairy foods like butter and cream. Saturated fats should be avoided.
2. Unsaturated fats
Replace your saturated fats with unsaturated fats if you want to reduce the risk of heart diseases. There are two types of unsaturated fats:
1. Monounsaturated fats: Monounsaturated fat helps protect your heart by maintaining levels of good HDL cholesterol while reducing levels of bad LDL cholesterol in your blood.
They are found in:
- Nuts (almonds, cashew, peanuts)
- Vegetable oil (olive oil and peanut oil)
- Peanut butter and almond butter
2. Polyunsaturated fats: Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. They are known as essential fats because the body cannot make them on its own but gets them from food.They are found in:
- Plant-based oils like soybean, corn, and sunflower oil
- Salmon fish
- Nuts like walnuts
3. Trans fats
Like saturated fat, trans fat can raise cholesterol levels in the blood. Trans fat is the worst type of dietary fat. It tends to behave like saturated fat and can be dangerous for your health. Hence, you must avoid trans fats.
You might find it in:
- Fried foods (french fries or doughnuts)
- Baked goods (cookies or cakes)
- Processed snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn)
So, not all types of fat are bad for your health! In fact, you need some ‘good’ fat in your diet to improve your health.