You probably know by now that you should avoid saturated fats and settle for unsaturated fats in order to stay healthy. Saturated fats are known to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and while this is true, there are some other things that you should know about saturated fats. A study was carried out on saturated fats and some participants were put on six three-week diets that progressively increased carbs and simultaneously reduced the total fat and saturated fat intake
Following this research, calories and protein remained the same and carbohydrate levels increased, which led to the increase of palmitoleic acid (known to increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes). This shows that saturated fats may not be the exact problem, but rather, the number of carbs that you consume is. Carbs are converted to fat as palmitoleic acid increases, which is a result of increased levels of carbs. This research further concluded that the number of carbs you ingest will determine how the saturated fats you have taken in will be processed, whether it will be burned for fuel or stored as fat.
Generally, fat is good for your health, as it is the key source of energy and essential nutrients. It also helps to increase satiety, so that you feel full for long durations. Below are the different types of fat that you should know about.
1. Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs)
These are the good fats and are often recommended to promote a healthy lifestyle. They turn solid when chilled and can be found in olive oil, walnuts and avocados.
2. Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs)
These are fat molecules that have more than one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule. They are liquid both at room temperature and when chilled. Common sources are; sunflower, safflower, flaxseed, soybean, corn, cottonseed, grape-seed, sesame oils and the oils in fatty fish.
3. Saturated fats (SFAs)
These are fat molecules that are saturated with hydrogen molecules, so they contain no double bonds between carbon molecules. They are solid at room temperature, and fine to consume only on a low-carb diet, as explained earlier, and not on a regular basis. This helps your body to burn fat for fuel and not store it. Common sources are coconut oil, butter, palm oil and lard.
4. Essential fatty acids (EFAs)
These are dietary fats that are not readily produced by the body. Linoleic and alpha-linoleic are two essential fatty acids that are obtained from food and are beneficial to the health. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also classified as EFAs, and while omega-3s are found in the fat of shell-fish and cold-water fish, omega-6s are found in seeds and grains and also in chickens and pork. Omega-3s are often recommended for a healthy lifestyle, and although omega-6s are quite unhealthy, it’s all about balancing the ratio of these two fatty acids.
5. Trans fats
They are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils and makes them solid. These fats should be avoided at all cost as they have been associated with an increased risk of heart-attack risk and also increase the level of inflammation in the body. Common sources include cookies, crackers, icing, baked goods, candies, and fried foods.
Eating the right fatty foods will help to improve your health and also help you in your weight loss, so don’t exclude them from your diet altogether.
image courtesy of: lifehacker.com.au.