Let’s take a closer look at this, Fats: are they really the enemy? What many don’t realise is that not all fats are created equal! Here, we’ll discuss the different types of fat and why several are actually good for you. Then we’ll be closely following up this article with top 5 foods that contain these healthy fats.
Fat has 9 calories per gram which is the highest of all macronutrients. The notion is that fat is fat and is therefore bad for you as the word fat is associated with those who are obese. What many don’t know is that there are many types of fats such as saturated and unsaturated, omega fats, polyunsaturated and hydrogenated fats and that the saturated kind has always been cast as the villain of all these fats. The main role of fats are to increase testosterone levels, maintain healthy bone structure and the heart as it helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Saturated fat plays a vital role in the body and should never be eradicated from somebody’s diet like so many do in order to lose weight.
Saturated fat plays an important role in raising HDL Cholesterol which is the good cholesterol. Saturated fats transport cholesterol away from arteries and to the liver where it can be reused or removed. Those with higher HDL cholesterol have less risk of heart disease.
Saturated fat also increases testosterone in males which is the male hormone for increasing lean muscle tissue mass as well as other male characteristics. Many men who remove saturated fat from their diet report lower sex drive and this can be attributed to low testosterone levels which will cause a decrease in lean muscle mass.
The real enemy of all the fats is Hydrogenated Fat (Trans Fats).
There are two types of trans fats, one which is naturally occurring and the other artificial. Trans fats are used in supermarket and restaurant based-foods as it is cost effective, it lasts a long time and can be used multiple times. Trans fats is so unhealthy that it has been removed from the ‘GRAS’ (Generally Recognised As Safe) foods list.
Trans fats raise the bad cholesterol ‘LDL’ and lower the good cholesterol ‘HDL’ in your body. It is also associated with increased risk of heart disease and an increased chance of diabetes type 2 occurring in the future.
The type of foods which you should stay away from in order to avoid trans fats are fried foods such as doughnuts as well as baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, stick margarines and other spreads. When eating out or eating at home, substitute oils can be used to cook these foods.
Mainly oils that contain polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat should be used when cooking foods and although you will have to pay more for these cooking oils, it’s well worth it from a health benefit perspective.