When you think of “Fats,” you automatically think that any type of fat is bad for you. So what you need to establish is the differences between the different varieties of Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats, as well as what they are and what they do.
What needs to be focused on are the fats and the various types of them. There are three basic types which the majority of us have most likely heard of. The groups are, saturated fats, mono-unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. If you’re thinking that fat is just fat, then continue to read and find out the distinct differences between them, and how your body can benefit from absorbing them.
What Are Fats In The First Place
Fats are defined as organic compounds which are comprised of oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. They’re a source of energy which are found in a variety of foods. Fats belong to a group of substances which are called lipids, and they can come in liquid as well as solid form.
All of the fats are a combination of saturated as well as unsaturated fatty acids. Fat’s fall into one of the three nutrients groups along with carbohydrates and proteins, which supply calories to the body. Fat is able to provide 9 calories per gram, which is twice more than what carbohydrates or proteins are able to provide.
Fat is essential when it comes to the the proper functioning of the human body. What fats do is provide the required essential fatty acids, which cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained externally from food.
The most essential of these fatty acids are linolenic and linoleic acid. They’re important since they control blood clotting and inflammation while contributing to the development of the brain.
Fat also serves as a storage substance when the body has extra calories. What it does is it fills the fat cells known as the adipose tissue, which helps in insulating the body.
Fats are an important source of energy as well. When the body uses up all the calories from carbohydrates, which will occur after the first 20 or so minutes of exercise or physical activity. The body then begins to depend on the calories which are stored in the fat for energy.
Healthy skin as well as vibrant hair are also maintained by fat. Fat will help the body to absorb as well as manage vitamins A, D, E, K throughout the bloodstream.
The Three Different Kinds Of Fat
Saturated fat is the “bad” fat which you’re most likely familiar with or hear the most about. This type of fat is usually found in various animal food products as well as processed foods which will utilize oils that are high in saturated fat.
Studies have show that if there’s too much saturated fat resident in a person’s diet, it will contribute to and increase the risk of heart disease by increasing the “bad” cholesterol known as LDL cholesterol.
Saturated fats are most commonly found in animal products, or in processed foods, such as cheese and butter, ice cream, cream and whole milk, and fatty meats. They are also found in oils such as palm and coconut oil.
The bad fat that’s formed during the hydrogenation process helps in keeping the oils solid as well as stable at room temperature for the use in foods. Saturated Fats will also naturally occur in small amounts in milk and meat as well.
It’s highly recommended that when you do consume any animal products, make sure that you choose as much lean beef, chicken, or turkey as possible, while eating eggs in moderation.
The Monounsaturated Fats Or MUFAs
The “good” fats which are actually good for you can generally be found in some select oils as well as plants. These oils have proven to decrease total LDL cholesterol counts while maintaining or increasing HDL, which is the good cholesterol.
Monounsaturated Fats are found in the following products
• Canola oil
• Olive oil
• Mid-oleic sunflower oil (NuSun)
• Peanut oil
These oils along with a variety of whole foods such as certain nuts, olives, avocados, and certain seeds create the MUFA oil group. If frying food at home, these healthier cooking oils should be used, along with eating snack foods which are cooked in these oils which are high in MUFAs.
The Polyunsaturated Fats Or PUFAs
Another group of “good” fats are the Polyunsaturated Fats which are naturally found in nuts, oils, plants and fish. The Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats or PUFAs, have proven to decrease the risk of heart disease by decreasing the bad LDL cholesterol.
The Omega-3 PUFA fats which is derived from fish have shown to reduce the risk of cardiac arrhythmia as well as sudden death syndrome. The modes of why are still not completely understood, but are pinpointed towards the anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic capacities of these oils.
Polyunsaturated Fats are found in the following products:
• Sunflower oil
• Corn oil
• Soybean oil
Along with these oils, PUFA’s are found in solid foods such as most types of fresh and salt water fish, and certain nuts along with a variety of snacks such as chips which are cooked in the Polyunsaturated oils. So look at labels for products cooked in corn oil, or prepared or packaged goods which are cooked with soybean oil.