All You Should Know about Fats

The name – fat – may make it sound like something you shouldn’t eat. But fat is an important part of a healthy diet. And little kids, especially, need a certain amount of fat in their diets so the brain and nervous system develop correctly.

Fat is one of the three macronutrients. The body uses fat as an energy source. Fat also helps cushion internal organs. Additionally, fat helps the body absorb vitamins K, E, D and A. It is important to note that there are different types of fat.

Types of fat

Unsaturated fat

unsaturated fatsUnsaturated fat is the type that is liquid at room temperature. This type of fat can be divided into two categories, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat has one carbon double bond. Monounsaturated fat helps LDL, and there has been evidence to suggest that it can raise HDL. However, more research needs to be conducted in order to examine whether monounsaturated fat is truly effective for raising HDL. Olives, avocados and nuts are examples of foods that have monounsaturated fat.

 

Polyunsaturated fat

It has two or more carbon double bonds. Studies have shown that polyunsaturated fat can potentially reduce the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat does not have any double bonds, and it is liquid at room temperature. Fatty meats, cheese, butter and cream are examples of foods that contain saturated fat.

Consuming this fat in small portions is unlikely to cause any harm. However, consuming too much saturated fat has been linked to high cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. There has also been evidence to suggest that heavy consumption of saturated fat can lead to colorectal cancer.

Trans fat

 

trans fats in doughnutsTrans fat is a type of fat that unsaturated fat that is created through a process called hydrogenation. This type of fat has been used to help preserve food. However, trans fat is the most dangerous type of fat that one can consume. It has been shown to significantly increase the risk of heart disease. It can also increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, cancer and depression. Fast food, doughnuts, cookies and fried foods are examples of foods that contain trans fat. For that reason, the consumption of those types of foods should be limited.