When it comes to weight loss, fat has been given a bad name. However, what we may not be aware of is that we truly need fat. In fact, our bodies can’t function properly without it. Fats play an important part in the transmission of nerve impulses, the formation of cells, the absorption of vitamins, and the delivery of energy to our muscles. Their presence helps to keep our skin smooth, our hair shining, and our emotions constant.
Fats that are considered “healthy” or “good”
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are referred to as “good fats” since they are beneficial to your heart, your cholesterol (yes, the right kind of fat can be GOOD for cholesterol!), and your general health when consumed in moderation.
These fats may be beneficial in the following ways:
A minimal quantity of fat is necessary for a healthy, well-balanced diet to be successful. Fat is a source of essential fatty acids, which are fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Fat increases the absorption of vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E by the body. These vitamins are fat-soluble, which means that they can only be absorbed when they are combined with a fat-containing meal.
All of the fat in our bodies that is not used by our cells or converted to energy is converted to body fat. In the same way, carbs and proteins that are not utilised are transformed into body fat. Your body is made up of water, protein, fat, and minerals.
There are two types of fat in your body:
Non-fat mass: this is also known as essential fat. This kind of fat is in your bones, liver, kidneys, intestines, and muscles fat in these places is required for your body to function normally.
Fat mass: also known as “stored fat,” is found in your adipose tissue. This type of fat is used as energy for your body. It insulates and cushions your body. It surrounds your organs and is just under your skin.
Making dietary changes that increase your intake of these good fats may also aid in weight reduction by increasing your feeling of fullness after meals, therefore decreasing your desire to snack and thus decreasing hunger.
The following foods are excellent sources of monounsaturated fat:
- Oils such as olive, canola, peanut, and sesame
- Nuts and olives (almonds, peanuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
- Peanut butter
Polyunsaturated fats are found in abundance in the following foods:
- Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines) and fish oil
- Soybean and sunflower oil
Fats that are deemed “unhealthy” or “bad”
Trans fatty acids also known as natural trans fats may be found in small quantities in meat and dairy products, but it is the manufactured trans fats that are thought to be harmful to health. This is the worst form of fat because it not only boosts bad cholesterol levels but also reduces good cholesterol levels, making it the worst type of fat. As well as causing inflammation, artificial trans fats are associated with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. They also lead to insulin resistance, which raises the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes in the long run.
The following are examples of primary sources of trans fats:
- Pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, and pizza dough that have been commercially baked
- Snack items that have been packaged (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
- Stick margarine or vegetable shortening
- Fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, and breaded fish
- Anything that contains hydrogenated or partly hydrogenated vegetable oil, especially if it states that it is “trans-fat-free,” should be avoided at all costs.
Saturated fatty acids
While saturated fat is not as hazardous as trans fat, it may boost poor cholesterol levels, and consuming too much of it can have a detrimental influence on heart health. It is thus advisable to consume it in moderation. While it’s not necessary to eliminate all saturated fat from your diet, most nutrition experts suggest keeping it to less than 10% of your total daily calories from saturated fat.
When it comes to getting enough fat in your diet, one thing to remember is that the key to healthy eating may not be avoiding any particular food but rather avoiding processed foods, particularly those that contain added sugar and unhealthy trans fats, both of which can increase inflammation and contribute to heart disease, and therefore should be avoided.
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