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Not All Fats Are Bad - Duality in the impact of various Fats

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It is a common misconception that fats are bad for us in that they can cause weight gain in an uncontrolled manner. Not all fats are bad and we need certain type of fats for our general well-being.The consumption of fats in the right amount is crucial. Triglycerides, cholesterol and other essential fatty acids are some nutrients that we need (a certain minimum amount) to function, store energy, insulate and protect our vital organs.

The fats are classified into unsaturated, trans, and saturated fats. Unsaturated fats are further classified into polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, which both, when eaten in moderation, can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Examples of good, healthy food rich in monounsaturated fats are avocados, canola oil, olives, monounsaturated margarine spreads, egg yolk and most nuts like almonds, peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias and pistachios, etc.,

Most vegetable and seed oils like sunflower, soybean and corn, polyunsaturated margarine spreads, linseeds, some nuts like walnuts, brazil nuts, pecan and pine nuts, wheat germ, oily fish and fish oils are great examples of sources of polyunsaturated fats. Food rich in good sources of unsaturated fats is actually necessary for us to lose weight and the fat mass percentage in our bodies. The fats to avoid are trans-fats or saturated fats. These kinds of fats are often found in packaged food such as French fries, cake mixes and packaged Ramen noodles.

Transfats as well as Saturated fats will raise our low-density lipoproteins (LDL-bad cholesterol) and lower our high-density lipoprotein (HDL-good cholesterol). Examples of foods high in saturated fats are fatty meats (beef, pork and lamb), chicken skin, butter, cream, full cream milk, cheese, ice-cream, lard, palm oil, chocolate, deep-fried foods, as well as take away and fast foods. Foods like biscuits, cakes, pastries, and doughnuts are rich in trans-fats and should be avoided, too.

The daily consumption of such foods can be extremely harmful to us. An increased amount of LDL cholesterol can result in an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Whereas, HDL cholesterol, which is sourced from good, unsaturated fats, can take bad cholesterol (LDL) from various parts of the body and take it back to the liver hence reducing the LDL.

In the short term, our brain functions are hindered by the heavy consumption of bad, saturated fats, and in long-term, a consistent diet involving such fats can lead to various diseases and disorders like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart diseases, stroke, and osteoporosis. It is therefore highly advised to be more mindful of the type of fats that we consume on a regular basis, and to ensure that we include them in the moderation.