Fats have been always considered as a enemy when it comes for a weight loss or maintaining weight. Eat more fat. The fastest way to lower insulin levels is to substitute fat for processed carbohydrates. But choose the healthy fat from the MUFA & PUFA category. Here in this article we will read about healthy fat and its benefits.
TYPES OF FATS
A vegetable diet provides healthy fats and not all fats are bad, thus your daily consumption of fats should be 20-25 per cent. Also, the way you cook your food is important as deep frying, reusing oil, or hydrogenation for commercial purposes converts healthy fat into unhealthy fat.
There are three types of fats:
- Saturated fats
- Monosaturated fats (MUFA)
- Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA)
Animal sources of fat are saturated. And vegetable sources of fat are main source of MUFA & PUFA.
COMPOSITION OF FATS
- Saturated fats have two carbon atoms bound to two hydrogen atoms.
- PUFA fats have free carbon atoms with no hydrogen atoms in between.
But with hydrogenation, the free carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms. Hydrogenation is done commercially to improve shelf life of the food and is used mainly in bakery products, cookies, sweets and ready to eat snacks like samosas and namkeens.
Fats which have a high proportion of saturated fatty acids are solid at room temperature and unsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature.
TRANS FAT IN OILS
These Trans fats are manmade oils and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke. In India, it is available as dalda and vanaspati and most of the commercial establishments use these hydrogenated oils. Trans fats are instrumental in increasing the shelf life of products but unfortunately decreases human life.
MONO AND POLY UNSATURATED FATS
Saturated fats are mainly from animal sources like butter, ghee and meat. As these fats increase the chances of cardiovascular diseases, it is safer to restrict its usage to seven percent of the total fat intake. By replacing saturated fats with mono and poly unsaturated fats, the incidence of heart diseases will be less.
Oleic, linoleic, linolenic and arachidonic acids are unsaturated oils. The unsaturated fatty acids are often described as essential fatty acids. Vegetable oils are linoleinc acid and fish oils and animal fats are rich in arachidonic acid.
Sunflower oil, rice bran oil, corn oil, coconut oil are examples of MUFA oils. And commercially available oils contain a combination of all these fats but only the percentage varies in each oil. The dietary fat is used for energy and it is also a source of essential fatty acids. At least 50 percent of the fat must be from vegetable oils which are rich in essential fatty acids.
GOOD AND BAD CHOLESTEROL
Cholesterol is an important component of our cell walls and other tissues. Hormones too are synthesized from cholesterol. And there are sub types of cholesterol. HDL is good cholesterol, which removes blockages from blood vessels. LDL is the bad cholesterol and blocks the blood vessels. Triglyceride (TG) makes the LDL cholesterol active and indirectly causes blocks in the blood vessels. Thus, it is important to decrease TG through calories restriction and daily exercise. The daily consumption of cholesterol is 300 mg and our LDL cholesterol is 70 mg a birth.
OMEGA-3 AND OMEGA-6 FATS
Most of these oils are rich in Omega-6 fats with very little Omega-3 fats.
Fish and flaxseed oil are rich in Omega-3 fats and are less likely to cause vascular disease. Thus, a balance ration of 1:5 of omega 3 to Omega-6 has to be maintained.
Dos AND Don’ts
So, in risk groups like diabetes, hypertension, family history of heart disease, overweight, people with heart disease, person whose habits are sedentary and stressful, the LDL cholesterol should be maintained between 70mg-100mg. Smoking reduces good cholesterol (HDL) and exercise increases HDL cholesterol.
Saturated and Trans fats increases LDL cholesterol. PUFA & MUFA decreases LDL and flaxseeds, fish oil increases HDL cholesterol.