Fats are defined as the most essential part of the diet and it plays an important role in maintaining a healthy life. Fat and cholesterol tend to be the most focused terms of the public and health enthusiasts. There is a valid reason behind this. Fat happens to be the most concentrated source of energy in the diet that provides about 8 to 9 calories per gram while on the other hand carbohydrates and proteins have only four calories per gram. Fat is known to have three elements which include carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. But, it has more amounts of carbon and hydrogen compared to oxygen, hence leading to nine calories per gram. They are the source of energy in food, belong to a group of elements called lipids, and are all combinations of saturated and unsaturated fat.
Types of Fats
There are 4 different types of fats:
- Saturated Fat: These are found in most animal products like cheese, milk, meat, and so on and hence one must limit the quantity of intake. Unsaturated fat, on the other hand, is substances that are substituted in place of saturated fats and lower cholesterol levels. Trans fatty acids that one gets from vegetable oils also play a role in increasing cholesterol levels. Consuming saturated fat in large quantities is the most popular reason for heart diseases as it causes cholesterol to block the arteries.
- Monounsaturated Fat: Monounsaturated fats are healthfulfats found in Avocados, Macadamia nuts, Peanuts, and Olive oil. It plays a vital role in protecting the heart and is also involved in supporting insulin sensitivity, fat storage, weight loss, and healthy energy levels.
- Trans Fats: These fats are obtained naturally in several foods such as beef, lamb, whole milk, cheese, cream, and butter are acquired from cattle. Conjugated linoleic acid is a natural trans fatty acid that is beneficial in strengthening the immune system and inhibiting the development of cancer. Trans fats are present in many processed foods such as baked food items, cookies, crackers, snack foods, deep-fried foods, and other food made or fried in partially hydrogenated oils.
- Polyunsaturated Fat: These are healthy fats, which are sufficiently found in both plant and animal foods, such as vegetable oils, Walnuts, Flax seeds, salmon, etc. They include both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. Omega 3 helps in reducing inflammation, supports healthy hormone levels and cell membranes. Omega 6 fatty acids play an important role in healthy brain and muscle functioning.