Different types of fats in the body? Which fats are good, which are bad, and which are the worst? Do we benefit from fats in their intake? These are all questions that interest us all.
In today’s article, we will pay attention and find out everything that is needed for fats and their impact on our body and our health.
Fats, or chemically triglycerides, are important components of the human diet. As macronutrients, they have many roles in the body that we need to use.
They serve as the most concentrated source of energy (they are a source of energy during prolonged non-eating, ie they represent energy reserves for the body).
Triglycerides are structural components, carriers of vitamins for our body and for many other biological functions.
Can triglycerides harm us?
If we overdo it with the consumption of foods rich in fats, even simple sugars (which are further deposited as fats) these components can create problems of different types.
Such excessive consumption inevitably leads to an increase in the level of triglycerides in the blood.
Atherosclerosis and diabetes are the most common, as well as the biggest problems that are created during the constant intake of more calories than the body needs.
Although the precise role of fats in the formation of arteries in the arteries is not clear, they are considered to be regular companions of the already proven culprits for this condition.
With regard to diabetes, when more energy is consumed than is consumed, then the reserves of fat in the muscles inevitably increase.
Thus, “overloaded” muscle cells with fat reduce their sensitivity to insulin. All of this unfortunately ultimately leads, first, to a state of prediabetes and then diabetes.
How to divide fat into good and bad?
We can divide fats into good and bad, in terms of our health. The level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood is strongly related to the type of fat we eat.
“Good fats” are those of vegetable origin that are generally unsaturated fats, ie monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. They reduce the risk of many diseases that attack our bodies.
The best and main sources of good fats are of course nuts and seeds.
“Bad fats” are generally of animal origin and are saturated fats. Frequent intake increases the risk of many diseases. Trans fats are considered to be even worse than these fats.
These are, in fact, chemical fats obtained from unsaturated fats which are hydrogenated or saturated (to varying degrees).
The most visible example on the market for such a product can be margarine.
Unsaturated fats are good fats
Unsaturated fats, which are in a liquid state at room temperature, are considered good fats. The reason is the connection found between them and the stabilization of blood cholesterol levels.
They also help reduce inflammatory processes, stabilize the heart rhythm, and many other beneficial effects.
The main source of these fats in plant foods, which include vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.
How many types of unsaturated fats are there?
There are 2 types of good, unsaturated fats, these are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats are present in significant concentrations in the following products: olive oil, peanut butter, and canola oil.
There are also significant sources of these monounsaturated fats in avocados, almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and of course not to mention sesame seeds.
Polyunsaturated fats are present in significant concentrations in the following products: sunflower oil, canola (although most fats are monounsaturated) this oil also contains polyunsaturated fats.
Other foods high in fat include nuts, flaxseed, and fish.
Omega 3 fatty acids are an important type of polyunsaturated fat because they are essential, ie the body can not synthesize them.
Good sources of omega 3 fatty acids are fish, flaxseed, nuts, canola, and soybean oil.
Higher concentrations of these fatty acids in the blood, according to several studies, are associated with a reduced risk of diseases that are most commonly associated with mortality in the elderly.
We can freely conclude that the beneficial effects of omega 3 fatty acids are really numerous for our body.
The majority of the population does not eat fats that are rich in unsaturated fatty acids.
We should emphasize that this is especially the case in the western part of the world, which is guided mainly by what is meant by the “Western diet”.
According to the American Heart Association, 8-10% of your daily calorie intake (energy) should come from polyunsaturated fats.
There is evidence that eating more (more than 10%, up to 15% of calories consumed, daily) polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats is important for our health.
This percentage of polyunsaturated fat intake can very successfully reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Saturated fats and their impact on our health?
In reality, there is no food that is made up of only one type of fat. The fatty part of the food is almost always a mix of different types of fatty acids.
Even those foods that are considered to be extremely healthy, such as nuts and chicken, still contain a certain amount of saturated fat.
But that amount is not even close to that found in pork, for example, or in cheese and various dairy products.
The most common source of these fats is animal products.
However, some plant products also have a fatty acid composition that is predominantly saturated.
Such plant products are for example palm oil, coconut oil, coconut itself, etc.
The intake of such fats should be minimized (especially in people who already have problems with cardiovascular disease). Their introduction by a large number of studies shows their association with various diseases.
But minimizing the intake of foods rich in saturated fats would not have an effect if we do not reduce the intake of refined carbohydrates (simple sugars).
Eating refined sugars, instead of saturated fats, lowers LDL or “bad” blood cholesterol. But on the other hand, it also reduces the level of “good” HDL cholesterol. It also works to increase the amount of triglycerides in the blood.
The effect of consuming refined sugars, in general, is bad for the health of our body.
That is why we must pay attention to the products that are rich in refined sugars. The largest source of saturated fat in the diet is, we mentioned animal products.
Saturated fat products
But more specifically, to be clear, these are the following products from the daily diet menu: different types of pizzas, cheese, and various fatty dairy products.
Fatty dairy products include butter, milk, cheese, cream, and others, meat products such as sausages, bacon, and pecans.
Then there are various cookies and desserts, as well as all other products that enter the list of the wide range of so-called. fast food.
According to previous scientific research, it seems that saturated fats are among the main causes of cardiovascular disease.
Saturated fats also cause some types of malignant diseases, as well as causes of systemic inflammatory processes in the body.
A study conducted in 2017 in the United States, showed that if saturated fats are replaced with healthy fats, ie unsaturated, the risk of cardiovascular disease would be reduced by as much as 30%.
The negative impact of these fats on male fertility, which has been shown in numerous studies, is also worth noting.
Trans fats are the worst fats for our health
Trans fatty acids, commonly known as trans fats, are synthesized by heating unsaturated, liquid oils in the presence of hydrogen gas and a catalyst. This process is also called hydrogenation.
The process is performed in order to achieve greater stability, ie longer shelf life, in order to obtain fat hardness.
In this way, functional fat (margarine or various shortening) is successfully obtained.
Also, partially hydrogenated fats can be heated to higher temperatures (unlike some unsaturated oils) without being “damaged”, making them a good frying medium.
These functional properties, often needed by the food industry, make trans fats widely present in processed foods.
This type of fat is the worst for the heart, blood vessels, and the body in general.
Why are trans fats the worst for our body?
Here are the main reasons why trans fats are the strongest:
- They raise the level of LDL and lower the level of good HDL cholesterol
- They stimulate inflammatory processes, processes that are related to the functionality of the immune system.
- All of this is further reflected in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
- Affect the development of insulin resistance
- They can have a negative impact if consumed in very small quantities.
One study found that with a 2% increase in the share of trans fats in daily caloric intake, the risk of heart disease increased by 23%.
Therefore, the recommendation is as follows: the recommended daily intake of trans fats is exactly 0.
Fats are an inevitable part of our diet. They are important because they are the most concentrated source of energy for the body. There are good and bad fats.
Good fats are those of vegetable origin that are generally unsaturated fats, ie monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Bad fats are those of animal origin and are saturated fats, the worst of all are trans fats like margarine.
By consuming good fats we have benefits, while with bad fats we can endanger our health.
Ultimately, fats are an inevitable part of our diet, but of course, we can pay attention to the amount of their consumption in the diet.