“Cut down the Fats, beware of the fat you take” are the slogans we hear everywhere. Is it really a dangerous one? Then why our healthy foods have fat in them?
Let me help you, in finding answers to these questions😀
What is a Fat?
The word Fat, usually refers to both Fats and Oils. These are made up of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. But differs from carbohydrates in structure and properties. Then, what is the difference between fats and Oils🤔
- Fat: It is something, which is solid at room temperature and has many saturated fatty acids.
- Oil: It is liquid, at room temperature and has unsaturated fatty acids.
Let’s know them.
Fats and Oils both have units called Fatty acids and Glycerol.
Fattyacid = carbon +hydrogen + oxygen
examples of Fattyacids are : Palmitic acid, Stearic, Oleic, Linoleic acids.
Types of fatty acids :
Based on the chain length , they are of three types.
- Short chain fatty acids : 10 or less carbon atoms.
- Long chain fatty acids : 12-20 carbon atoms
- Very long chain fatty acids: 20 or more carbon atoms.
Based on the hydrogen atoms, they are of two types Saturated and Unsaturated.
- Saturated fatty acids : Carbon atoms in the chain, hold hydrogen atoms, according to their capacity.
- Unsaturated fatty acids : Here, the hydrogen atoms are more in number i.e. beyond the capacity of carbon atoms in the chain.
Just like in the aminoacids, Fatty acids which must be supplied by diet, for the body are called as Essential Fattyacids.
In a nut shell:
Fats and Oils contain Three Fattyacids (Triglyceride) and one Glycerol unit.
But the Fattyacids differ for both, Fats have saturated ones, and Oils have unsaturated fatty acids.
Both saturated and unsaturated are needed for the body, but Unsaturated is more healthy as it increases, good cholesterol levels and Saturated increases bad cholesterol levels. Check here for more information on cholesterol
To Break all the negative notions about fat and it’s dangers, You must know their functions.
Uses or functions of Fats:
Insulation and padding :
Fat, which is stored in adipose tissues of skin, act as an Insulator and keeps the body warm. This padding is also present around the organs like kidney and heart protecting them from injuries.
Imagine how insecure our heart and kidneys feel without the fat cover😱
Most of the Vitamins are fat soluble. That is, fat carries the those solved vitamins in the body and help the body to absorb them. Without this fat, vitamins can never be useful to us.
Fat can give a lot of energy on digestion. Each gram gives 9kcal of energy which is almost the double of the energy given by carbohydrates or proteins. So, a small amount of fat can provide a lot of energy to the body, which is a good point😊
How do you feel, when you eat some fatty food? You feel fullness for a longer time, just like the fibre foods. This is because it takes more time for the digestion.
Many more functions :
- Nourishing hair and nails,
- Aiding in Hormone release and
- Nerve functions.
So, you now know and agree that Fat is very healthy to have.
Then, Where can we find it?
Food sources of Fat:
Common sources of Fats and Oils include:
- Mustard oil,
- Groundnut oil,
- Coconut oil etc.
- Milk products like Curd,
- Nuts like Almonds,
- Cashew nuts.
All of them have different proportions of fat in them.
I know the doubt you get now,
What about the pizzas and burgers? Why they are unhealthy?
- Pizza base is made of refined carbohydrates or say refined Atta( Maida) , which removes the bran and is nutrition less. Fat in it, has more of saturated fatty acids which is beyond the recommended value.
- And even the sodium levels are more. Due to all these reasons, it is considered unhealthy. But when made with an unrefined wheat and suggested fats, it can be healthy too.
How are these Fats digested or taken into body? Where do they go, after we eat?
Digestion and Absorption of Fat:
Fats are digested by only two enzymes.
- Gastric lipase from stomach and Pancreatic lipase, which is poured into intestines.
Fats need to be mixed with water, to make the enzymes to act on it.
- But you know, fat or oil is never soluble in water, for this purpose, there is a saviour called Bile. Bile from liver helps in breaking Fats into droplets and disperse them in intestines for the enzymes to act on. This is why major fat digestion takes place Intestines.
- After fat is digested into Fattyacids and glycerol, bile salts make them into droplets called Micelles and these micelles are taken by intestinal cells. These Fattyacids in the form of micelles, enter from intestines into lymph vessels, then to the heart and then into blood.
From blood into body parts, where it is used as energy (same like the carbohydrates and protein) and excess is stored as fat as we already disucssed.
We have seen the good side of the fat till now, then why is it treated unhealthy?
where comes the problem?
Problems with Fat:
Consider any healthy thing or any nutrient, having it in excess always harms. The same is with the fat.
As small amount is sufficient for the production of energy, the excess stores in the body, at various parts. Even Fat storage is essential, but excess, makes us unhealthy, shapeless and obese.
This excess thing, has made fat, a problem of concern. Nothing more than that.
Anything in excess is fatal, we all know this, but how? How do we know whether it’s excess or not? How to find the foods based on that?
Don’t worry! BALANCED DIET is the easiest and the only solution. Check it here.