Fats! Just the word makes diet conscious people dizzy. But actually, not all fats are bad. In fact, there are fats that are absolutely essential for the human body to run properly.
There are actually three types of fats. One is good, the other is bad and the last one is almost poisonous. It sounds like a puzzle with three doors with life behind one door, a challenge behind the other door and death behind the third one.
However, in the case of fats, the puzzle does not come with a difficult question.
In here, all the doors actually come with labels describing what door (fat) it is so you don’t have any trouble choosing the right path ahead.
What is Fat:
The Three Types of Fats
- Unsaturated Fats: these fats are liquid at room temperature, such as olives, peanuts, avocados, pumpkin seeds, fish oil, canola oil, Omega-3 fats and so on.
- Saturated Fats: mostly animal fats, can be found in small amount in dairy products as well. Red meat contains a lot of it. Some plants also contain saturated fats such as coconut oil which turns solid at room temperature.
- Trans Fats: trans fatty acids are commonly called trans fats. These are made by processing vegetable oil with hydrogen gas and a catalyst. A common example of such fats is Indian Vanaspati Ghee.
Can you guess which category contains the good fats, and which are the bad ones?
Unsaturated fats are considered good fats. These fats improve blood cholesterol levels, they ease inflammation, improve your digestive system, stabilize heart rate and do many other good things.
There are mainly two types of unsaturated fat:
- Monounsaturated fats: these are the fats found in whole foods such as olives, nuts, seeds etc.
- Polyunsaturated fats: this category contains natural seed oils such as canola oil, soybeans etc.
Omega-3 fat also come from Polyunsaturated fats. Its main sources include fish and nuts. According to a Harvard study, Omega-3 fats reduce the risk of premature death.
Now, even though these fats are good, too much of them would result in excess carbohydrates so you’ll just end up gaining weight. Too much of anything cannot be good.
[fact text=”The ideal share of unsaturated fats is: 8-10% of your daily carb needs should be covered by these good fats – British Nutrition Foundation” type=”gen”]
Saturated fats and trans fats are both considered bad fats.
- Saturated fats can be useful, but only for people who do an excessive amount of physical work, such as African hunters or Karakoram mountaineers. For everyone else, saturated fats are bad ideas.
- Trans fats are even worse than saturated fats! That’s because these are processed fats; processed with a deadly catalyst and hydrogen gas.
These fats are heart killers. They add to your blood pressure, they increase your blood cholesterol levels, they jam your arteries and make you fat. Sadly, most of the spicy fast food items are made in these fats. It’s one of the primary ingredients in cheap Mexican and Indian fast foods.
NOTABLE EXCEPTION: We mentioned a couple of paragraphs above that coconut oil is a saturated fat but it’s a good fat. In fact, coconut oil has proven to be one of the best weight loss agents as we discussed in weight loss hacks article.
Even though it gets saturated at room temperature, it doesn’t contain as much cholesterol as meat. It is obtained from fruits so it’s not one of the bad fats that get stored in the body, because even though it turns solid at room temperature, it melts at body temperature.
Avoid all animal fat, especially fats that come from red meat. That’s just a blanket statement for all healthy people. These fats make you obese, they increase cholesterol levels, they increase blood pressure and they do all kinds of damage.
Trans fats are even worse because they are processed fats. That just cannot be good. So, your best bet is to rely on good fats that come from nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. They will not only gradually undo the effects of bad fats, they will make you feel good and look good.