Types of Fat
Fat is one of the main nutrients in our food and also one of the main sources of energy. It serves many functions in our body, such as, gives you energy, keeps your body warm, builds cells, protects your organs, help your body absorb vitamins from foods, make hormones that help your body work the way it should.
Not all kinds of fat that we know are equal.
Types of fat-
1. Saturated fat- is solid at room temperature and this form of fat is mostly found in animals such as milk, ghee, cheese and meat. Opt for grass fed meat; pasture raised animals who have never been induced with hormones or steroids. In short, organic is the best! Saturated fat is also found in a few plant sources such as coconut oil and cocoa butter.
2. Unsaturated fat- this kind of fat is liquid at room temperature and these are derived from plant foods such as olives, nuts and seeds, avocado etc.
There are 2 types of unsaturated fat:
● Monounsaturated fat: This fat is in avocado, nuts and vegetable oils, such as canola, olive and peanut oils.
● Polyunsaturated fat: This type of fat is mainly in vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, sesame, soybean and corn oils. The two types of polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
o Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods from plants like walnuts and flaxseed. They are also found in fatty fish and shellfish as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, Atlantic mackerel and Pacific mackerel are high in EPA and DHA.
o Omega-6 fatty acids are found mostly in liquid vegetable oils like soybean oil, corn oil, and safflower oil etc.
Which of these is good for us and which is not? Is saturated fat really bad for our health?
According to Harvard school of public health, cutting back on saturated fat will likely have no benefit if people replace saturated fat with refined carbohydrates. Eating refined carbohydrates in place of saturated fat does lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, but it also lowers the “good” HDL cholesterol and increases triglycerides. The net effect is as bad for the heart as eating too much saturated fat.
According to Dr Mark Hyman, a review of all the research on saturated fat published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease. As with all fats, quality becomes key here. The fats in a fast-food bacon feedlot cheeseburger will have an entirely different effect than saturated fat in coconut oil.
Go for fats such as ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil rather than relying on refined inflammatory seed and grain oils!
Which kind of fat is bad?
It’s mainly the trans-fat that is unhealthy for us. What is trans-fat?
It’s the worst type of fat. Trans-fats are manufactured. They are the product of a process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Another name for trans-fats is partially hydrogenated oils. Trans-fats are not essential and they have damaging health effects.
Trans-fats create high levels of inflammation, raise levels of LDL cholesterol and lower levels of HDL cholesterol. This increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
What products contain trans-fat?
Food products like fried foods, such as french fries, doughnuts, pies, pastries, biscuits, other baked goods, pizza dough, cookies, crackers, stick margarines and shortenings, packaged foods, fast foods etc, contain trans-fat in them.
You would also be surprised to know that the vegetable oils that we consume on a regular basis can also be inflammatory and bad for our health!
The main source of dietary fat in our diet these days is vegetable oils. These so-called vegetable oils which claim to be healthy are more often chemically refined with additives and treated under high temperatures. These oils are high in omega-6 fatty acid and unfortunately in our Indian household, we end up using a lot of these oils and fall short of omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, nuts and seeds etc. High consumption of omega-6 fat and ignoring omega-3 leads to high inflammation in our body. This prolonged inflammation can cause various types of chronic diseases in the future.
So then, what is MCT oil?
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. They are a type of fatty acid that is derived from coconut.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, Omega-6 fats are seed, bean or grain oils (which include corn, soy, sunflower and canola oils). Once ingested, these inflammatory oils are transported to the lymphatic system and not to the blood, which means your fat tissues absorb them.
MCTs, on the other hand, are directly absorbed into the blood and boost your metabolism, burn more calories and fat and reduce fat storage, while curbing your appetite. That’s why we think of these fats as super fuel for your cells.
Besides this, MCT has also shown to increase the release of hormones that can promote the feeling of fullness in the body such as leptin, may help optimize the growth of good bacteria, support the gut lining, lower triglycerides, reduce fat storage and an excellent brain and cellular fuel.
How to include MCT in your daily diet?
Include it in your daily cooking/ in your salads/ in smoothies/ coffee etc.
These are the different types of fat available today in the market out there. Choosing the right kind is all in your hands!
Refer our article- The Right oil, to know further about the right kind of oil that you can use on a regular basis for cooking or otherwise.
Tags: Fat, energy, Keep your body warm, build cells, protect your organs, help your body absorb vitamins from foods, make hormones, Saturated fat, grass fed meat, pasture raised animals, Unsaturated fat, Monounsaturated fat, Polyunsaturated fat, Omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Omega-6 fatty acids, bad LDL cholesterol, good HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, Trans-fats, vegetable oils, MCT oil, medium-chain triglycerides, leptin, oil, fats