Fats are one of the three main macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and proteins. Fat molecules are made up of primarily carbon and hydrogen atoms. They are hydrophobic in nature and are soluble in organic solvents but insoluble in water. There are various types of fats present in our foods. They can be broadly classified as unsaturated and saturated. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and are considered to be beneficial fats. There are two types of “good” unsaturated fats: Monounsaturated fats mainly found in olives, peanuts, canola oil, nuts and seeds and polyunsaturated fats which can be obtained from Sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils, fish and flax seeds. Saturated fat is mainly found in animal foods, but a few plant foods are also high in saturated fats, such as coconut, coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil. Saturated fats are considered “bad” fats and should make a very small proportion of our diet. The third type of fats are Trans fatty acids, more commonly called trans fats, are made by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas and a catalyst, a process called hydrogenation. Trans fats are considered to be the worst type of fat and should not be consumed. Trans fats can be found in many foods – including fried foods like doughnuts, and baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, and stick margarines and other spreads.
Read the labels carefully before buying any product and make a mindful choice between the types of fat.
Fats increase the bodyweight which in turn increases the levels of inflammation. This reduces the functionality of the immune system and makes the body more prone to diseases. Deposition of fat also increases the waist-to-hip ratio in both males and females leading to obesity and making them prone to underlying health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems. Research has shown that the level of human growth hormone tends to decrease with greater accumulation of fat. (1)
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