Why fats are important in our daily diets?

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Fats are considered harmful even though they are nutrients we all need in our diets. The biggest concern is making sure we don’t have too much fat. Dietary fats are essential to give our body energy and support cell function.

These fats also help protect our organs and help keep our bodies warm. Fats help our body to absorb nutrients and produce vital hormones, too. Excessive fat in the body can lead to weight gain, but skipping it from the diet is not a good move. Hence, if we cut out all the fat from the diet, we deprive our body of what it needs the most. 

The fats our body gets from our food give our body essential fatty acids called linoleic and linolenic acid. They are called “essential” because our bodies cannot make them themselves or work without them. Our body needs them for brain development, controlling inflammation, and blood clotting. 

There are four primary dietary fats in food: 1. Saturated fats, 2 Trans-fat, 3 Monounsaturated fats, 4 Polyunsaturated fats. These four types of fats have various physical properties and chemical structures.

The “bad fats,” trans fats and saturated, tend to be more solid (like butter) at room temperature, and polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats tend to be more liquid (like canola oil). Fats can also have various effects on the cholesterol levels in our body.

A diet high in saturated fats and trans fats raises your blood’s terrible cholesterol (LDL) levels. Eating a healthy diet higher in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lower harmful cholesterol levels.  

There are nine calories in every gram of fat, irrespective of its type of fat. Fats are more energy-dense than proteins and carbohydrates, which provide four calories per gram. Consuming high calories – irrespective of the source – can lead to weight gain or overweight.

Consuming high saturated or trans-fat levels can lead to stroke and heart diseases. Health experts recommend replacing saturated fats and trans fats with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats while maintaining a nutritionally adequate diet. 

Not necessarily foods labelled “0 trans-fat” or cooked with “trans-fat-free” oils may contain a lot of saturated fats, which raise our harmful cholesterol levels. “Trans fat-free” foods can also be unhealthy regarding their available nutrient content. Such as, even if they lack trans fats, baked foods may be high in added sugars and low in nutrients.

To choose more beneficial fats, use liquid non-tropical plant oils, low-fat or non-fat instead of full-fat dairy, and if we eat meat, lean meat or poultry. And remember to balance the number of calories you eat from all foods with the number of calories you use through physical activity.

Fat is a significant fuel source for the body, and it is also the primary way we store energy. The body needs fat to absorb specific nutrients, like fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants. Fat gives body cells their desired structure. Omega-3 fats, a type of unsaturated fat, are vital for optimum nerve, brain, and heart function.

However, we can cut down Trans fats from the diet. Trans fat is an artificial kind of fat found in partially hydrogenated oils. Fats are an essential source of energy, and it contains active molecules that influence the response of the muscles to insulin and inflammation.

Some of the current recommendations by experts suggest to limit the intake of foods high in saturated fat – such as many cakes, pies, biscuits, processed meats, commercial burgers, fried food, pastries, potato chips, crisps, pizza and other savoury snacks.

Replacing high-fat foods that contain primarily saturated fats (such as butter, cooking margarine, cream, coconut and palm oil) with foods that contain healthy monounsaturated and polysaturated alternatives (such as oils, spreads, nut butter and pastes, and avocado).

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Jyotismita Maitra
Jyotismita Maitra
Currently pursuing Masters's Degree, Interested in reading, writing, and dancing.

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