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Sometimes I feel sorry for fats. Poor thing is in nobody’s good books.Everyone seems to hold the same, negative grudge against fats in food –
Bad, harmful, damaging, fattening and UNHEALTHY!
Well, the above revolting illustration holds true to an extent but only when it is consumed unwatched and in profusion.
On the contrary,
Fats are Good. Fats are Essential.
(Of ‘course in moderation and as per the recommended daily allowance)
Fat in Diet – Yay or Nay?
Fats in food do a lot of work for our body. They,
- keep skin soft
- deliver fat-soluble vitamins
- source of energizing fuel
- build cell membranes
- help with mood, memory & concentration
- regulate immune system and metabolism
Wow, that’s really nice of them and a lot of help! So, it is unfair to ignore or keep them out of our diet.
But again, under obligation of their goodness, we are not supposed to go berserk eating them.
The Good, Bad & Ugly of Fats
Primarily, there are two groups of fats - saturated and unsaturated:
The good one - Unsaturated Fat
This includes polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and monounsaturated fats (MUFA). These when eaten in moderation, can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart disease.
Good job there!
To spot them easily around you, look for the ones which remain in liquid form at room temperature (think vegetable oils – olive, canola, sunflower, corn and sesame oils).
The bad one – Saturated Fat
Saturated fat can elevate cholesterol levels which may lead to clogging of arteries and increase the risk for heart disease.
It mostly comes from animal sources, such as red meat, poultry skin, high-fat dairy, eggs and are sometimes found in few vegetable oils as well like coconut and palm oils. Next time butter, ghee or margarine entice you, stay clear.
Ughhh, the ugly – Trans Fat
They are a type of saturated fats and the worst as well. Avoid them whenever and wherever possible. Food brands use them to enhance flavour, texture and shelf life of the processed foods. French fries, cookies, chips, cakes, canned food, microwave popcorn and baked goods are probable foods loaded with Trans fat.
Keep Healthy with Fat
Coming back to the goodness of fat, like other components of food, it is an essential nutrient. The significant point here is to understand which fat to eat and how much to include in our daily diet.
Recommendations & tips for fat intake –
- Include olive oil and sunflower oil like Sunny Fortified oil for cooking
- Read food labels and skip if trans fat is present in them
- Non-vegetarians can swap red meat with salmon & mackerel fish or chicken without skin
- Use liquid vegetable oil instead of solid fats (like butter or ghee) for frying, sauteing or baking
- Use low fat dairy for milk, yogurt and cheese/paneer
- Buy an oil spray to control excess usage
How much oil is allowed in a day –
The daily recommended intake of cooking oil is
Adults (with no medical condition or special requirement) - 4 teaspoon (approx. 20 gms)
Kids up to 10 years – 5 teaspoon
Kids above 10 years – 4.5 teaspoon
So now you know, fat in diet is not our enemy but an integral part of food, just that it needs to be watchfully consumed and most importantly, in a calculated manner.
Choose healthier fat options and enjoy your food without quilt.
Happy (fat) eating!
Image courtesy - Port Moresby General Hospital, Health Tips Ever