What Is Fat?
Fat by definition is a noun typically used to describe a natural oily substance that occurs in an animal’s body. This includes humans. It is deposited under a layer of skin and around organs. There are three types of known fats. First, unsaturated fat comes from plant foods. Then we have saturated fat, which comes from animals. Finally, trans fat, which comes from commercially prepared processed foods. Today we will go over these fats and their benefits and drawbacks.
You might be wondering “Is having fat necessary or important?” The answer is yes, you need fat to stay healthy. This is where the different types of fat come into play because some can be very beneficial to our bodies. Conversely, some can harm us. It is up to us to determine what to eat.
What are the Benefits Of Fat?
- It can keep your skin healthy.
- Absorbs vitamins
- Fat adds flavor to the food you eat.
- Helps you feel satisfied after a meal.
- Unsaturated Fats can help lower cholesterol
Most saturated fats come from animal sources such as meat and dairy products. It should be known that saturated fat is remarkably unhealthy. It raises blood cholesterol levels which proposes an incredible risk to our health since this leads to cardiovascular disease. A typical American diet is packed with saturated fats, most of it comes from foods like hamburgers, pizzas, and the worst one of all CHEESE. Doctors recommend reducing your intake of saturated fats to no more than 7% of your daily calories.
Example of meals high in saturated fat:
|Food||Amount||Total Fat (g)||Saturated Fat (g)|
|Fried Chicken||4 oz||23||6|
|French Fries||2.5 oz||11||1.5|
|Caesar Salad||Side Order||20||4|
|Whole Milk||1 cup||9||6|
|Apple Pie||1 slice||19||4.7|
|Ice Cream||1 scoop||17||11|
Unsaturated fats come essentially from plant foods, such as vegetables, nuts, and seeds. You can find unsaturated fats from vegetables in the various oils coming from vegetables. For example, this includes vegetable oils such as olive, peanut, sunflower, soybean, and corn. Unlike saturated fats, unsaturated fats do not raise blood cholesterol which is very good for our bodies. There is a sub-directory of unsaturated fats we call monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats have the greatest effect on reducing high blood cholesterol levels and may actually increase “good” cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats are considered heart-healthy because of the large amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat is typically available in fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, and herring. According to Harvard School of Public Health, unsaturated fats also reduce inflammation.
Here are examples of healthier alternatives:
|Food||Amount||Total Fat (g)||Unsaturated Fat (g)|
|Roasted Chicken||4 oz||4||1|
|Baked Potato||1 potato
1 tbsp sour cream
|Green salad with olive oil||2 tsp oil||9||1|
|1% Milk||1 cup||2||1 .5|
|Low Fat Frozen Yogurt||1 scoop||4.5||2.5|
We can divide trans fat into 2 categories: Those that occur naturally, and those that are artificial. The digestive systems of animals produce some trans fats. This includes milk, cheese, and meat products like sausage. They create artificial trans fats in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil which makes it more solid. They do this mainly for margarine. The process makes it more spreadable and prolongs shelf-life. Trans fats are unhealthy because when they add hydrogen to the oil it reduces unsaturated fatty acids. As a part of a healthy diet, we advise trying to lower your intake of trans fats or “processed” foods.