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The 101 On dietary fats.

Fats are an important source of energy and nutrients, which are essential in out diet. Sadly in our society many people are consuming too much “unhealthy” fats , which do not provide as much health benefits, and when they are consumed in excess over long periods of time, this will eventually lead to overweight and obesity and other chronic diseases.

It really depends on what type of dietary fat you are consuming, as there are different types of fatty acid, which may have different positive or negative effect in regards to our well-being. Therefore main issue here is the type of fat consumed and quantity, as many Health occupations are trying to point out.

Energy Dense Nutrients

The reasons why we are told to also limit of dietary fat intake is that fat are energy dense nutrients. Dietary fat has more than double the amount of kilojoules per gram (37kJ/g) than carbohydrate or protein (17kJ/g), making it very ‘energy dense’. Foods high in fat are usually high in kilojoules. Some research suggests that saturated fats are more likely to contribute to weight gain (especially around the middle) than polyunsaturated fat and mono-unsaturated fats, even though they do have similar kilojoule content. Many studies and published source have suggested that ~25-30% of our energy should come from fats.

Functions of Dietary Fat

Fats also play an important role in maintaining healthy hair and skin. Healthy cell function ( for cell signalling and membrane construction).In addition having some dietary is necessary because it facilitates the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, as fats act as a vehicle for these groups of vitamins.

Types of Fats

Dietary fat can be classified into four groups these include.

1. Saturated fats

These types of fats are considered to be “unhealthy”. They are likely to be solid at room temperature. They can be found in animal products such as red meats, poultry, processed meats (salami, Frankfurt) and dairy (whole milk and cheese).

Numerous studies show that a high intake of saturated fat is linked to a high level of Low density Lipoprotien (LDL Bad cholesterol) which eventually leads results is cardiovascular disease. They also lower High Density-Lipoprotein ( HDL Good cholesterol) which removes excess cholesterol that are clogged in the arteries.

2. Trans fats

Sources of trans fats include hard margarines and solid cooking fats, that are used in many shop – bought cakes and biscuits. These are also unsaturated but the secret here is that they undergo a process known as hydrogenation which causes them to function similar to saturated fats.

Like saturated fats they also pose as a threat in regards to our health and also they  lower HDL and increase LDL cholesterol. Therefore it is advised that we should avoid these types as much as possible in out diet.

3. Monounsaturated Fats.

Are also known as the “heart healthy fats” sources include: Oils (sesame, peanut, canola), avocado, nuts and seeds.

A large amount of research have shown that monounsaturated fats have shown to lower LDL levels, which reduces the risk of heart disease. but that’s not all. Here are some benefits that not usually discussed.

  • Improves insulin sensitivity: Diets enriched in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)s have been shown to benefit glycemic control.MUFAs specifically stimulate secretion of the antidiabetic hormone, Glucagon-like peptide- 1 (GLP-.GLP-1 is one of two major incretin hormones that are secreted from the intestinal tract upon nutrient ingestion and that act to increase insulin secretion.
  • Packed with other nutrients: Such as vitamins A, D,E and K, which is important in blood clotting, bone development, and antioxidant properties.

4.Polyunsaturated Fats

These are a healthier form of fats than saturated fats or trans fats. much research has shown the benefits of replacing saturated fat for polyunsaturated fat, examples of polyunsaturateded fats are the omega 3 and omega6 fats, which are considered to be essential yo our diet, since our bodies cannot synthesise these types of fatty acids.

However in our society the omega -6: to omega 3 ratio is somewhat imbalanced. There is an excellent paper actually blog by Nutrition Diva Monica Rinagel a licensed nutrition who provides everything you would need to know in regards to omega 3 and 6, and how to effectively balance the ratio between the two, in order to achieve optimum nutrition and health.

Tips In Reducing both saturated and trans fats.

1. Remove skin of Poultry.

2. Use Non- hydrogenated margarines or use avocado instead of butter.

3. Select lean meat and trim off any excess visible fat.

4. Switch to low-fat dairy milk (people may find this a bit hard as a few people may enjoy milk for its creamines due to the fat content. Milk is fine as long as you drink/ consume milk in moderation.

The main objective is to reduce your saturated and trans fat. However there some foods that we may like that consists of these fats. You can still enjoy these types of foods once in a while. However it is important to note that they should probably not be the staple of our diet or in this may result in health problems which was discussed in this post.

The Next Post will look more into the omega 3 and 6 fats how they are essential in our diet and ways of balancing the ratio of omega 3 and 6.

Useful Resources

http://www.fitfaqs.co.uk/questions/nutrition/is-fat-bad/

http://www.everynutrient.com/essential-fatty-acids.html

http://nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com/fish-oil-and-omega-3-fats.aspx