Many people have turned their attention to fats with the low carbohydrate craze. They eat more of it and think it is okay. Depending on what kind of fat you consume and how much of it you take in, fats can be beneficial or detrimental to your health.
There are three main types of fat. They are saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. Saturated fats come mainly from animal sources such as meat and dairy. At cool temperatures, saturated fats are solid (hence, you will see the coconut oil or ghee becomes thick during winters).
You might be asking yourself what fat is saturated or unsaturated with. A fat molecule (without getting into too much chemistry) is made up of carbon atoms that have hydrogen atoms attached to them.
Unsaturated fats come mainly from plant sources such as olives and nuts/seeds and contain no cholesterol. They are liquid (oil) at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are broken down further in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Monounsaturated (MUFA) are fat molecules with one double carbon bond. Olive oil is an example of high monounsaturated fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends monounsaturated fats to reduce the risk factors for heart disease.
Polyunsaturated (PUFA) are fat molecules with more than one double carbon bond. Vegetable and seed oils such as Canola, Sunflower, Soybean and so on are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are refined through a highly intensive mechanical and chemical process that uses heat and pressure to extract the oil.
In saturated fats, all carbon atoms have a single bond to another carbon atom and are also bonded to hydrogen atoms. Not all carbons are saturated with hydrogens in unsaturated fats, and double bonds form between carbons. The double bond is formed on the carbon, determining the fat's properties. Trans fat is artificial fat. It is made by taking an unsaturated fat and putting hydrogen through it in a process called hydrogenation. Trans fat is nasty for your health. Full saturated fat increases LDL (bad) cholesterol and slightly increases HDL (good) cholesterol. However, Trans fat increases LDL cholesterol and decreases HDL cholesterol.
While cooking food, the fat consumption can largely depend on the oil we use. The refined seed & plant-based oils contain a high amount of saturated fats. In contrast, physically refined or cold-pressed virgin oils have a good amount of unsaturated fats, which helps increase the good cholesterol we need.
I usually recommend the physically refined Rice bran oil, Coconut oil, or Ghee - the best among all. The following are the link to the products that are available on Amazon:
To conclude, is Fat good or bad?
We think fat is a culprit for weight gain, and thus, we try to avoid them in food as well as in our body. We believe that eating less fat is healthier. However, fat is good for our body and is essential to human life and health. Furthermore, fat is fuel for our body, and it acts as a cushion between the organs. So include good fats in your diet plan, keep a check on the oil you consume and stay healthy!