Not All Fats Are Bad! Learn To Tell The Good Fats From The Bad
- Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) have a host of amazing health benefits
- Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) is also a type of healthy fat along with MUFAs
- Saturated fats (SATFAs) are unhealthy and can raise cholesterol levels
‘Fat’ has traditionally been the villain in all our fitness endeavours, but did you know that there is much more to ‘fat’ than you think. Until now we have been urged to banish fat from our diets whenever possible – thanks to our fast paced lives and eat-on-the-go culture that promotes an unhealthy diet and obesity, leading to a global health problem.
The first thing we blame for being obese is the fat in our food. In fact, the ‘fat-free’ industry has grown exponentially in the past few decades. While it is true that some fats are responsible for obesity and increase the risk of certain diseases, there are other fats that are actually indispensable for our well-being. Including more healthy fat in your diet can actually help boost your well-being, improve your mood, and even trim your waistline.
Nutrition Head at Fitness First Ekta Varmani Tandon helps us understand which fats are healthy and should be incorporated in our diets, and fats which fitness junkies should stay away from.
To learn the difference between good fat and bad fat, we first need to know about the basic types of fat:
Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs): Research shows that diets with healthy amounts of monounsaturated fats, a type of dietary fat, have a host of amazing health benefits.
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs): This is also a type of healthy fat along with MUFAs.
Saturated fats (SATFAs): are unhealthy and can raise cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart attacks.
The good fats are like oil that flows freely through our arteries, while the bad fats stick to the arteries and end up clogging them.
The human body can make all sorts of fat except two fatty acids – linoleic acids and linolenic acids, which need to be obtained from our diet.
Olive and Canola oils are rich in MUFAs and PUFAs. Salmon, Milk products, Almonds, Brazilian nuts, Sesame seeds and Sunflower nuts contain high amounts of omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, which are really good for our body.
On the other hand, saturated fats and trans-fats fall under unhealthy fats and need to be avoided. These are usually found in the fatty cuts of meat and poultry, packed food items, fried snacks and other ready to eat snacks that contain an unhealthy level of trans fats.
Here are some amazing benefits of eating fat:
- Fat is the most concentrated source of energy in our diet providing 9 calories per gram, whereas carbohydrates and proteins only offer 4 calories per gram.
- Fats help build healthy cells – they form a vital part of the cell membrane without which the cell cannot function. Also, they provide the structural component of myelin – the fatty insulating sheet that insulates nerve fibers in our body – enabling it to carry messages faster.
- Fats are essential for healthy skin too. One of the most obvious signs of fatty acid deficiency is dry, flaky skin.
- Fats form a protective cushion for your organs, protecting them from injury.
- Essentials fats like omega 3 oils reduce the blood’s tendency to clot, thus helping to prevent heart disease and strokes.
- Fatty acids, especially the kinds found in butter and coconut help white blood cells to recognise and destroy invading viruses and bacteria in our body.
So now that we know the importance of fats, here’s a look at what to include and what to leave out of our diet.
- Cut down on store-bought fast food and baked goodies as they contain a high level of trans fats.
- Lower your consumption of fatty cuts of meat, milk with high fat content, butter and hard margarine.
- Include the following food items that contain omega 3 fats in your diet every day:
- Oily fishes like tuna, mackerel and sardines.
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, ground flaxseed.
- Healthier oils like soyaben and canola oil which are rich in omega 3 fats.
- Also recommended are bajra, rajma and locally available green leafy vegetables.
Now that you have figured out the good fats from the nasty ones, here is to healthier food choices the next time you eat.
Also Read: Lose Weight By Altering Your Eating Schedule