Why do we need fats?

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6 min read

Fat is an essential part of the human diet.

According to Eat For Health, there are many different kinds of fat – saturated, unsaturated, trans fat and cholesterol.

Some of these fats are healthier than others, and it is important to know which ones are worse for your body than others.

All fats eaten in large amounts – including the healthy ones – will contribute to weight gain.

Fried chicken might be delicious but too much of it can cause health woes and weight gain.

Fat helps a kid’s body grow like it should. Fats fuel the body and help absorb some vitamins. They also are the building blocks of hormones and they insulate the body.<br>fats are not some ways bad for your health.But actually good for your health.You just need to choose the right amount.

How many different fats are there?

There are four major dietary fats in the foods we eat:

  • Saturated fats

These fats are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and high blood cholesterol levels.

They are usually solid at room temperatures and are found in animal based products like butter, cheese, palm oil, coconut and margarine.

They are also found in a number of packaged foods like chips, pizza, cakes, pies, and biscuits.

  • Trans fats

These fats are an important part of a healthy diet, and help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels.

There are two pain types of unsaturated fats – polyunsaturated fats which are found in oily fish, soybean oil and Brazil nuts, and monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados and cashew nuts.

  • Unsaturated fats

These fats are unsaturated fats that have been processed, and as a result behave like saturated fats.

Trans fats increase cholesterol levels and put a person at risk of heart disease.

  • Trans fats

The four types have different chemical structures and physical properties. The bad fats, saturated and trans fats, tend to be more solid at room temperature (like a stick of butter), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be more liquid (like liquid vegetable oil).

Fats can also have different effects on the cholesterol levels in your body. The bad fats, saturated fats and trans fats raise bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in your blood. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can lower bad cholesterol levels and are beneficial when consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern.

What is fat for?

  • A source of energy – Our body uses the fat we eat, and fats we make from other nutrients in our bodies,  to provide the energy for most of our life-functions
  • Energy store – The extra calories that we consume, but do not need to use immediately, are stored for future use in special fat cells (adipose tissue)
  • Essential fatty acids – Dietary fats that are essential for growth development and cell functions, but cannot be made by our body’s processes
  • Proper functioning of nerves and brain- fats are part of myelin- a fatty material which wraps around our nerve cells so that they can send electrical messages. Our brains contain large amounts of essential fats
  • Maintaining healthy skin and other tissues.  All our body cells need to contain some fats  as essential parts of cell membranes, controlling what goes in and out of our cells
  • Transporting fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K through the bloodstream to where they are needed
  • Forming steroid hormones needed to regulate many bodily processes

Do we need some fat to function?

The NHS claims that a small amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced died.

However for decades, we’ve been encouraged to shun fat in our diets, as the rise of low-fat products gained prominence, which has led Brits to be rather confused on the subject.

Susan Jebb, a nutrition professor at the University of Oxford, reminds us that when fat is taken out of a product, it is often replaced by something else.

Speaking to the BBC, she said: “It tends to be sugar – the calories in digestives and low-fat digestives are almost the same

“Lots of yoghurts are rammed with sugar – that is the thing that annoys me about yoghurt.”

In fact, consuming some fats is a great way of getting essential fatty acids, which the body is unable to make itself.

Fat is needed to help the body absorb vitamins A, D and E.

These vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning they can only be absorbed by the body with the help of fats.

Are all foods labeled "trans fat-free" healthy foods?

Not necessarily. Foods labeled “0 trans fat” or cooked with “trans fat-free” oils may contain a lot of saturated fats, which raise your bad cholesterol levels. “Trans fat-free” foods may also be unhealthy in terms of their general nutrient content. For example, baked goods also tend to be high in added sugars and low in nutrients.

Can fats be part of a healthy diet?

Eating foods with fat is definitely part of a healthy diet. Just remember to choose foods that provide good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and balance the amount of calories you eat from all foods with the amount of calories you burn. Aim to eat a dietary pattern that emphasizes intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils and nuts; and limits intake of sodium, sweets, sugar sweetened beverages and red meats. Doing so means that your diet will be low in both saturated fats and trans fats.

Does eating more healthfully mean giving up my favorite foods?

A healthy diet can include the foods you love. You don’t have to avoid these treats entirely, but you do need to eat less of foods that are low in nutrition and high in calories.

Good Type of Fats

Unsaturated fats: These are found in plant foods and fish.Unsaturated fats are loosely packed. They tend to be liquid at room temperature.Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat can improve your health. Unsaturated fat comes from plants. It’s found in:vegetable oils,olives,nuts and seeds and some fish

Do all fats have the same number of calories?

There are nine calories in every gram of fat, regardless of what type of fat it is. Fats are more energy-dense than carbohydrates and proteins, which provide four calories per gram.

Consuming high levels of calories – regardless of the source – can lead to weight gain or being overweight. Consuming high levels of saturated or trans fats can also lead to heart disease and stroke. Health experts generally recommend replacing saturated fats and trans fats with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats – while still maintaining a nutritionally-adequate diet.

What happens to fats that are not used by the body?

Any fat from food that is not used by your body’s cells or to create energy is converted into body fat.

In the same manner, any unused carbohydrates and proteins are also converted into body fat.

How much fat should you consume in a day?

The NHS offers advice on how much fat should be consumed by adults and children on a daily basis.

All types of fat are high in energy and a gram of fat, whether saturated or unsaturated, provides 9kcal (37kJ) of energy compared with 4kcal (17kJ) for carbohydrate and protein.

The government recommends that:

  • Men should not consume more than 30g of saturated fat a day
  • Women should not consume more than 20g of saturated fat a day
  • Children should have even less than this on a daily basis

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