Fats are type of food groups that our body need as major source of energy but mostly as a storage of the food for any excess calories we take in. It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals; fats are also used to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths (covers) surrounding nerves. Fats are essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation. For long-term health, some fats are better than others. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Bad ones include industrial-made trans fats. Saturated fats fall somewhere in the middle, but if over consumed my fall into very bad.
The chemical structure of all fats is the chain of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. The different fat from one another is the length and shape of the carbon chain and the number of hydrogen atoms connected to the carbon atoms. Apparently slight differences in structure translate into crucial differences in form and function.
From the fat food that we consume it is turned to cholesterol. Depending on the type of fat you will get bad cholesterol or good cholesterol. The total cholesterol level is the overall amount of cholesterol found in your blood. It consists of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) (the bad ones) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) (The good ones). LDL is called “bad” cholesterol because it blocks your blood vessels and increases your risk of heart disease. Thus, the higher your HDL, the better. If you take a blood test your LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL.
Trans-fats: These are byproduct of a process called hydrogenation that is used to turn healthy oils into solids and to prevent them from becoming rotten (or sour). This process is when vegetable oil is heated in the presence of hydrogen and a heavy-metal catalyst such as palladium, hydrogen atoms are added to the carbon chain. This is the worst type of dietary fat. So, this process makes healthy vegetable oils more like not-so-healthy saturated fats. On food label ingredient lists, you will see something like “partially hydrogenated oil.” These are bad boys for your health!
Trans fats in 20th Century were mainly found in solid margarines and vegetable shortening. Eating foods rich in trans fats increases the amount of bad cholesterol- LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol. Bad fats (Trans fats) leads to following health problem:
- Create inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
- They contribute to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Even small amounts of trans fats can harm health because study shows that every 2% of calories from trans-fat consumed daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23%.
Trans fats have no known health benefits and there is no safe level of consumption.
But you ask, are we still have trans-fat in the market? Well am glad you asked! I Have good news for you, today, these mainly man-made fats are rapidly fading from the food supply.
Saturated Fats- The in-between fats
These are mainly animal source fats. Mostly are referred to Saturated Fats. They are called saturated because they are saturated with hydrogens atoms. Animal-based sources of saturated fat include:
- Dairy foods – such as butter, cream, ghee, regular-fat milk and cheese.
- Meat – such as fatty cuts of beef, pork and lamb, processed meats like salami, sausages and the skin on chicken.
- Most practitioners and the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fats which are found in butter, cheese, red meat and other animal-based foods. Decades of sound science has proven it can raise your “bad” cholesterol and put you at higher risk for heart disease.
Examples of foods containing a high proportion of saturated fat include animal fat products such as cream, cheese, butter, other whole milk dairy products and fatty meats which also contain dietary cholesterol. Certain vegetable products have high saturated fat content, such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil.
Nutritionist all over the world and the American Heart Association recommend that no more than seven percent of your total daily calories should come from saturated fats. That is to say, if you consume approximately 2,000 calories per day, that means your saturated fat limit is 16 grams or 140 calories from saturated fat. Or in simple visual term is your saturated fat should not exceed three spoonful.
UNSaturated Fats-Good fats
The good fats or unsaturated fats are so called because they are not overcrowded with hydrogen atoms that bond to carbon or are not saturated with hydrogen atoms around carbon. They are of two main categories: polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Both mono- and polyunsaturated fats, when eaten in moderation and used to replace saturated or trans fats, can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease
Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. They differ from saturated fats by having fewer hydrogen atoms bonded to their carbon chains. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperature, not solid. Examples include vegetable oils such as olive, peanut, safflower, sunflower (like our palatable SUNGLO OIL), soybean and corn. These “healthy” fats have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and lessen your risk of cardiovascular disease. Unlike saturated fats, unsaturated fats do not raise blood cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein levels. While it’s not practical to eliminate saturated fat in your diet entirely, as it is present (in small amounts) in many foods, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet has been shown to lower blood cholesterol.
Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils.
The discovery that monounsaturated fat could be healthful came from the Seven Countries Study during the 1960s. It revealed that people in Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean region enjoyed a low rate of heart disease despite a high-fat diet. The main fat in their diet, though, was not the saturated animal fat common in countries with higher rates of heart disease. It was olive oil, which contains mainly monounsaturated fat. This finding produced a surge of interest in olive oil and the “Mediterranean diet,” a style of eating regarded as a healthful choice today. Although there’s no recommended daily intake of monounsaturated fats, the Institute of Medicine recommends using them as much as possible along with polyunsaturated fats to replace saturated and trans fats.
Polyunsaturated fats are mainly found in Corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats (that is why we recommend you must use SUNGLO OIL as the source of your essential oil). That means they’re required for normal body functions, but your body can’t make them. So, you must get them from food. Polyunsaturated fats are used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves. They are needed for blood clotting, muscle movement, and to reduce or prevent inflammation. There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. The numbers refer to the distance between the beginning of the carbon chain and the first double bond. Both types offer health benefits.
Eating polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fats or highly refined carbohydrates (like refined maize or wheat flour products) reduces harmful LDL cholesterol and improves the cholesterol profile. It also lowers triglycerides. Foods containing polyunsaturated fats include fish oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and walnut oils. Canola oil contains polyunsaturated fats in addition to be a source of monounsaturated fats. Fish such as salmon and tuna are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in flax seeds and vegetable oils. Walnuts contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help reduce LDL.
All fats contain nine calories per gram, but not all fat is created equal. In the broadest sense, fats can be categorized into two main camps: saturated and unsaturated. Likewise, each type of fat affects the human body differently. Sorting through the confusion surrounding saturated and unsaturated fats can help to distinguish their properties, how they function in the body and the sources they come from. That’s why in this article we have helped you to sort this in a simple term.
Moreover, you can be certain that if you grill a steak, you’ll eat saturated fats and if you cook veggies in olive oil you’ll consume unsaturated fats. To be sure you’re eating more unsaturated fats, incorporate more nuts, seeds, fish and liquid vegetable oils (SUNGLO OIL) in your diet while limiting fats from meat and dairy. Sticking with whole foods and freshly-prepared foods makes it easier to avoid the bad fats (trans-fats).