Over the years, fats have been villainized by many and have been linked to weight gain, health issues, etc. Fats were the target for many marketing firms, as they launched low-fat "healthy" snack variants just to lure customers. But are all fats bad? Do fats lead to weight gain, or do fats cause heart issues? Is there anything called healthy fats? In today's blog, we'll answer all your questions surrounding fats.
Dietary fats aka Fatty Acids can be found in both plant and animal-based foods. While certain types of fats are harmful and dangerous, others have been proven to provide various health benefits. Fats are essential to fuel your body, as your body breaks down fats into fatty acids to fuel itself, just the way it breaks down carbohydrates into glucose for fuel. However, there are certain fats that you should be avoiding at all costs, as they are not just unhealthy, but are unfit for human consumption.
Types of fats:
- Saturated Fat
- Trans Fats
- Monounsaturated Fats
- Polyunsaturated Fats
While saturated fats per se aren't bad for you, you must be wary of the source from where you get them. Saturated fats that are found in Milk, Butter, Ghee, Meats are fine in moderation, the ones found in Refined Vegetable oils, Palm Oil, Vanaspathi, or imitation "ghee" must be avoided or should be kept at a bare minimum. Not only are these GMOs, but are found in our day-to-day foods such as Mayonnaise, Salad dressings, sauces, etc.
Trans fats are among the worst kind of fats and have been banned by the USFDA (United States Food And Drug Administration) and in India, the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has placed a limit of 2% as recently as 2022. Trans fats can be found in most fast foods such as french fries, donuts, Low-fat butter, margarine (hydrogenated vegetable oils), cookies and cakes, and processed foods such as popcorn, chips, and farsan to name just a few. When in doubt, read the nutritional info and you'll know.
Research has shown that consumption of Monounsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol, and even reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Foods such as Nuts and seeds, unprocessed peanut and olive oil, peanut and almond butter, and avocado have properties that can protect you and keep you healthy.
Polyunsaturated fats are also known as essential fats, as our bodies are unable to produce them and are vital for maintaining good health. According to the America Heart Association, these fats, just like Monounsaturated fats can help prevent cardiovascular illnesses by lowering cholesterol. Among the Polyunsaturated fats family, it's the Omega 3 fatty acids that are highly beneficial and sought after, as they are known to be beneficial to your heart. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, and also help in lowering blood pressure levels and guarding against irregular heart rates. Foods such as salmon, herring, sardines, trout, walnuts, and flaxseeds are known to be a good sources of Polyunsaturated fats. If you are a vegetarian or vegan and do not intend to consume these foods, then you can choose a vegan source of Omega 3 supplements as well.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about fats and which ones you should avoid, and which ones you must include in your diet. For more such informational blogs, do keep following us!