There are basic facts you should know about fats. There are mainly two classes of fats; saturated fat, and unsaturated. The unsaturated ones are the polyunsaturated fats, and monounsaturated fats. Some fats are dangerous, while some are not. When fats come combined with proteins in the body, they form a complex called Lipoproteins. We will look at these later in a broader view to see why some are desirable and some are not, but first, let’s look at the major kinds of fats.
Saturated fat- Fatty acids are made up of several chains of carbon atoms, it is said to be saturated because the carbon atoms have no free bonds to link with other atoms. Normally a carbon atom has 2 free bonds that are ready to attach with other atoms to form a compound. When these free bonds are used up entirely, usually by another carbon atom or a hydrogen atom, the fat becomes saturated. That is because there is no room for any more attachment.
These are the bad type of fat and the one we must avoid in trying to stay healthy. The body has a tough time processing saturated fats, because of the number of bonds it needs to break down in the process. Saturated fats raise cholesterol levels, which increases the chances of a heart attack. For a healthy dieting plan, saturated fats must be reduced significantly from the diet. Examples of sources of saturated fat are all forms of fat in animal flesh (meat), palm oil, and coconut oil etc.
Polyunsaturated fat- Polyunsaturated fat comes in two types: omega 6 and omega 3. It is ‘poly’ because there are more than one unsaturated bonds in the compound. It is Omega-6 because the first unsaturated bond exists at the 6th carbon atom. Same is applicable to omega3. Omega 6 type comes mainly from vegetables, and omega 3 come from oily fish.
This type of fat is actually the healthy type and helps to reduce the level of cholesterol! So a small consumption is important for health. Remember, ‘small’.
Monounsaturated fat- They have only one carbon atom carrying unsaturated bonds. They are derived mainly from vegetable and are found in olive oil and almond oil. They also have the ability to help reduce cholesterol levels.
Lipoproteins: They are fat-protein complexes and play important role in the development of heart attacks. They are two classes of these lipoproteins.
High Density Lipoproteins- These lipoproteins reduce the chance of a heart disease.
Low Density Lipoproteins- Increases the likelihood of heart diseases. If the level of LDL is higher than that of HDL, the likelihood of a heart disease, stroke diabetes etc. is increased and vice versa.
Fats produces very high levels of energy and the daily intake shouldn't exceed 30% of your total calories. In other words, for an average daily intake of 2,000 calories, only about 600 should be fat derived. This of course is if you are not trying to loss weight, but if you are; your daily fat consumption should not be enough to produce 600 calories.
Every 1g of fat gives out 9 calories. That leaves you with about 66.7g of fat per day. But for weight loss, it should go lower than that.
This can be achieved by cutting down on all fatty foods and eating more of vegetables and fruits, a little of pure carbohydrates. With little or no fat at all, you will soon be getting used to the low fat diet.
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