For most of us, eating is one of the most satisfying things we do in our everyday lives. As a matter of fact, we have our favorite dishes, favorite drinks and favorite snack foods which only proves that eating is one of our favorite activities. There’s really nothing wrong with that since food, a primary necessity of man, is the one responsible for making us healthy, fit and giving us energy to perform everyday tasks.
But improper intake of food might do us more harm than good. Proper information about healthy eating should always be at hand so that certain illnesses can be prevented, and as for the case of obesity, it can be treated through fat burning and weight loss.
A common misconception in the area of food and nutrition is that fat is always bad. But is it really? Fat is the body’s major energy storage system. When the energy from the food we eat and drink can’t be used by our body right away, the body turns it into fat for later use.
The body uses fat from foods for energy, to cushion organs and bones, and to make hormones and regulate blood pressure. Some fat is also necessary to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails. Thus, one should not eradicate all fat from the diet. But, too much fat can lead to many health problems such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and more.
We can determine that not all fats are created equal and knowing the difference between the bad ones and the good ones will lead you to making healthier choices. There are the saturated fats – the unhealthy ones – and the unsaturated fats – the good and healthy ones.
Let’s review each and see just how different they really are.
Saturated Fat: Unhealthy Ones
Saturated fats, which are generally solid at room temperature, are the least healthy and tend to increase the level of cholesterol in our blood. They are also largely responsible for causing artery blockage which leads to eventual heart failure. Foods that contain saturated fat include butter, cheese, margarine, shortening, tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil and the fats in meat and poultry skin. Consumption of these oils and foods should be limited. Otherwise, they may bring serious health problems.
Unsaturated Fat: Healthy Ones
Unsaturated fats reduce blood cholesterol when they replace saturated fats in the diet. There are two types of unsaturated fat: monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to raise the level of HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol that protects against heart attacks) in the blood, so in moderation they can be part of a healthy diet. This is why they are known as the good fats. Olive, canola, and peanut oils are good sources of monounsaturated fats.
All fats, even the good ones will still make you gain weight if too much is consumed. The key here is to keep all fats in moderation but try to make the majority of your fat intake come from the good ones whenever possible. No more than 20% of your daily calorie intake should be from fat of any kind, especially if you are trying to lose weight.