19 August 2016

Fat is not bad for our health - Good fat vs Bad fat

 "FAT" is a word that is too scary to think of,dream of,swallow or digest ~ for me ! Don't you wish this fat-ty word didn't exist at all . I did ! Wonder what would have happened if there was no such thing called fat at all - well,whole world would have been filled with happy women dancing on happy feet -slim and trim ,men wouldn't look ever pregnant ,kids would eat non-stop pizzas,pasta,ice creams and chocolates etc etc ..and the most important thing there won't be any disease at all and we all will be happy and healthy ever after....

Hmm..sounds like one of my best dream and yes that much I am scared of fats...

However,we NEED fats !! Guess what I found out - That our body needs little fat for sure ! Fat is not something to be eliminated entirely from our diet . Fat is in fact very important for our body :
  • Fat is a major source of energy .
  • Fat helps in absorbing some vitamins and minerals - Vitamin A,D,E and K - the fat soluble vitamins .
  • Fat keeps our skin soft and hair healthy .
  • Fat derived from food produces the "essential" fatty acids required by the body called linoleic acid (Omega 6) and linolenic acids (Omega 3 ) which our body, neither can make by itself or can function without it.These essential acids helps in the formation of healthy cell membranes,nervous system,brain development,hormone production,healthy immune system,controlling inflammation,blood clotting,blood pressure,liver function,cholesterol etc etc..
  • Fat helps in regulating our body temperature and keeps it warm
  • Fat also forms a protective layer for different organs in the body -it holds them in place and prevent them from any injury .

DID YOU KNOW ? - A human brain is nearly 60 percent fat !

So just like carbs,we do need fat in our diet and body BUT they are of two types - Good fats or Unsaturated Fats and Bad fats or Saturated fats and obviously, we should aim for the good fats in our diet to make sure that even if we are dieting to lose weight ,our body is not deprived of any essential fat benefits .

Good fats are of two types :
  1. Monounsaturated Fats (MUFA) - are fats or oil that are in liquid form at room temperature but starts to solidify when chilled. Examples -Olive oil,canola oil,peanut oil. Other than oil they are also found in dairy products (whole milk),Red Meats,Nuts,olives,Avocados ,popcorn,whole grain wheat,oatmeal,cereals etc..
  2. Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFA) are also like monounsaturated fats except their chemical structure,liquid in room temperature but gets solid in refrigerator .They are more solid though and may even get spoiled when kept chilled.Heat and oxygen are more damaging to this type of unsaturated fat.
Monounsaturated fats and Polyunsaturated fats are also known as "OMEGAS". Mononunsaturated fats are also called Omega-9 fatty acids like Canola and Sunflower oil etc whereas Polyunsaturated fats are called Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids .These are essential fatty acids that our body is incapable of producing it by its own and so should be derived from apt food sources like fish,flax seeds,oils etc...
Bad fats are of two types :
  1. Saturated Fats - are usually solid in room temperatures .They come mainly from animal sources like meat and whole fat dairy products ,baked and fried products and plant based oils like Palm oil,coconut oil . Saturated fats are considered to be one of the main cause of high cholesterol levels,heart attack or stroke.
 (Unlike other saturated fats,Coconut oil has about 90% saturated fat but when taken sparingly also helps in raising good cholesterol !) 

 The Academy of nutrition and dietetics recommends to get no more than 7% to 10% of calories from saturated fats.

    2. Trans Fats - Natural trans fats occurs in small quantity in animal products -meat and dairy products .However,there is the artificial trans fat created in industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid .These oils are affordable to produce,can be used many times for frying etc,has longer shelf life and also gives food a good taste and texture. Because of these properties these oils are the most sought after oil by restaurant owners.

However,trans fats are the most harmful fats that can reduce good cholestrol/HDL and raise the bad cholestrol/LDL leading to heart diseases and even diabetes ,cancer etc etc..So,this type of fat is suggested to be taken carefully .Even lots of restaurants have been and are banning the use of this deadly oil.

So,basically the monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats should be our go to fats (within limits) and saturated fats should be taken sparingly but should not be avoided and just say NO to Trans fats !!

The U.S Department of Agriculture 's dietary guidelines recommend that adults should get 20%-35% of their calories from fats.

Now,let's see what are some good fat foods that we must consume and bad fat foods that we must avoid :

Monounsaturated Fats Polyunsaturated Fats Saturated Fats /Trans fats
Canola Oil Sunflower Oil Butter
Olive Oil Corn Oil Lard
Peanut Oil Safflower Oil Poultry with skin
Almond Oil Sesame Oil Red Meat
Walnut Oil Soybean Oil Whole fat dairy products (even 2% milk)
Avocados Cottonseed oil Palm oil
Olives Fish Oil Partially Hydrogenated oil
Peanut Butter Nuts and seeds Coffee Creamer
Almond Butter Walnuts Vegetable shortenings
Nuts (Cashews,almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans) Kale Margarine

Spinach Bakery food – cakes/cookies/pies etc

Parsley Deep fried foods

Brussel Sprouts Fast foods

Soymilk Frozen foods -ice cream/pies/pizzas

Tofu Readymade frostings/icings

Fatty fish- Salmon,Tuna,Mackerel,Herring,Trout,Sardines Refrigerated dough products

Sunflower seeds/Sesame/Flaxseeds/Pumpkin seeds Pre-mixed products like pancake,cakes etc


Making wise choices while consuming fat,not only helps in keeping unnecessary weight off but also helps in warding off many deadly diseases like heart attack,stroke,diabetes,cancer etc etc and live longer healthily and happily.

It is not good to be fat but fat is good !! - hmmm not scary anymore ,knowledge is power - full !!

Take care,

Disclaimer:I am collecting all these vital health related info (from reliable sources all over the internet) ,for my personal use and storing it at one place as guidelines for good health .So that I don't have to google it always .So,these are otherwise strictly for informational purpose only and not to be substituted for any professional medical advice.

 References and sources: