1 Fats are needed by the body
Fats aka lipids are large nutrient molecules that serve several functions in the body including: providing the body insulation to keep warm, adding cushioning for the bones and joints for protection against injury, acting as a source of energy for daily activities, and proper functioning of vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K (which are needed to maintain good eyesight, bone density and structure, blood clotting and much,much more.)
2 Trans-fats are man-made with a few exceptions
Trans-fats are a Frankenstein creation designed by the food industry to add flavor to food, and to keep foods from spoiling. This is accomplished by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats in a process call hydrogenation. Trans-fats are commonly found in processed foods like margarine (and other artificial butter-like products) and in fast foods like French fries, burgers, chips, and certain types of cookies etc. Trans-fats can also be found naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy.
3 Trans-fats are bad
As a consumer, you should be wary of the food products you buy, and the types of fats they contain, especially when it comes to processed foods. The trans-fats found in most processed food products are detrimental to human health, and are linked to numerous health conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. If you encounter food products, that mention hydrogenation, or partial hydrogenation, (which is the code word for trans-fats), you should try to avoid buying these types of food products, whenever possible, to safeguard your health.
4 Saturated fats can be used in moderation
Saturated fats, are lipids that are normally solid at room temperature. Examples include butter, chicken (in particular chicken skin, which I usually remove when cooking),other meats, eggs, and coconut oil. Historically, we have been told to stay away from these fats, but some studies have shown that these fats (as long as they are not the type found in fried, processed, or fast foods) may not be as bad as previously thought. They are considered acceptable for use in moderation, as they are needed for proper body function, including hormone production.
5 Unsaturated fats are good
Unsaturated fats are lipids, that are normally liquid at room temperature, and fall into 2 major categories:
Monounsaturated fats which include olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, and many types of nuts. The other type, are polyunsaturated fats, which include:
1 Omega 6 fatty acids which is found in foods including, corn oil, soybean oil, and nuts such as walnuts.
2 Omega 3 fatty acids which is found in foods such as flax seeds, and in fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel.
Similar to omega 6 fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids, promote proper brain function, growth and development. Additionally, omega 3’s have been found to lower the risk of heart disease (as they decrease the likelihood of clots forming in the blood vessels,) which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, etc. Omega 3’s also reduce inflammation in the body, which is a leading cause of chronic diseases in the body, including cancer and arthritis. Hence, unsaturated fats (in particular foods containing omega 3 fatty acids) should make up the majority of your daily fat consumption, and become a staple in your diet, due to their many health benefits.
Always Remember- Foods are like friends. Choose them wisely!
1 “Getting over the fat phobia.” Harvard Health Letter. Dec2015, Vol. 41 Issue 2, p5-5. 1p.
2 Rodriguez, Melissa. “Dietary Fat and the Martial Arts Athlete.”, Black Belt Oct/Nov2015, Vol. 53 Issue 6, p28
3 Fikes, Bradley J. “Lowering saturated fats doesn’t cut heart disease risk, study finds” By: San Diego Union-Tribune, The (CA). 04/12/2016.
4 “You Are What You Eat, Hence Curtail Saturated and Trans Fats, Free Sugars and Salt.” Manolis HOSPITAL CHRONICLES 2016, 11(2): 65–76