Fats: their Types and Food Sources| Health Benefits and Side Effects

Fats are composed up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen and are the richest source of dietary energy.

Each gram of fat provides nearly 9 calories. Fats in the human body are made up of a three molecules structure called triglyceride.

Most of the fats required by a human body is made by the body itself with the exception of essential fats which are obtained from the consumption of food.

The essential fats include Omega-3 fats, which are found in fishes and Omega-6 fats, which are found in nuts and seeds.


Types of Fats

Our food mainly consists of three types of fats, which are unsaturated fats from plant-based foods, saturated fats, which comes from animal-based foods and trans fats from commercially processed foods.


Sources of Fats

Healthy fat is mostly monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which come from olive, peanuts, avocados, almonds, hazelnuts, pecan and seeds from the pumpkin.

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Polyunsaturated fats are obtained mostly from plant-based foods and oils such as sunflower, corn-soybean, and flaxseed.

Omega 3 fatty acids are an important type of polyunsaturated fat present in fishes like salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring.

Unhealthy fats like saturated fats and Trans Fats are present in meat products, butter ghee, cheese, cream, ice cream, chocolate confectionery, biscuits, cakes, pastries, coconut oil, a variety of fast food dishes.

Trans fats are saturated fats that have been processed and they are like saturated fats but differ in nutrition value.

These are formed when vegetable oil hardens, which is the result of a process called hydrogenation.

Trans fatty acids are found in fried foods, commercial baked foods such as cookies, crackers, and margarine.


Benefits of Fats

  • Fats help in absorbing vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • Studies have shown that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids improve blood cholesterol levels and can lower the risk of heart diseases.
  • Monounsaturated Fats are helpful in weight loss.
  • Whereas carbs and protein provide 4 calories per gram. Therefore, reducing the amount of fat in the diet can be an effective way to reduce calorie intake.
  • Secondly, they help improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar by moving it from the blood into cells.
  • Many studies show that they may help reduce the risk of certain cancers like prostate cancer.
  • Monounsaturated Fats are helpful for reducing inflammation.
  • A diet that is low in saturated fats and trans fats, but includes unsaturated fats will help you stay healthy.
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Side effects

There are several significant effects of fat on the human body.

Accumulation of fat around the belly reduces the level of human growth hormone causing severe health problems or defects.

  • However, fat tends to hold high levels of toxin in the body. Intake of too much saturated fat is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.
  • A diet rich in saturated fat causes a soft, waxy substance called cholesterol to build up in the arteries.
  • In addition, a large intake of polyunsaturated fat may increase the risk for some types of cancer.
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Saturated fats should be limited to less than 10 percent of calories a day.

Saturated fats should be replaced with healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

  • Presence of high levels of fats in the liver, muscle tissue, blood, and bone marrow can cause osteoporosis.
  • Also, obese men with a lot of visceral fat show less bone strength compared to obese men with lower visceral fat at a similar weight.
  • Also, fatty liver causes severe insulin balance in the body.

This can cause type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the long run.

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