Unsaturated and Saturated fats


Foods containing fats are most cases tasty but harmful. You may have heard that fat is also essential for body. That is truth, according to US FDA maximum fat one should take a day is 65 grams and that is for a regular person, who spends around 2000 calories. Now that is the maximum. The healthy intake of fat for a day is around 30/40 grams. Most of the people take more than that. A Big Mac in McDonalds contains 30 grams of fat. So you see the minimum amount of fat we need for body to function is consumed whether we like it nor not. So if somebody says, hey you need some fat for your body to run, don't pay heed to that person. If you are already overweight, it means you have excess fat stored in your body, so our main goal is to reduce fat percentage of our body, not to increase it.


Good fat and bad fat

To tell you truth, if you are overweight and thinking to lose some weight and to flatten your stomach, no fat is good for you. So instead of good and fat we may say bad and worse fat. Saturated fat is the worse fat and non saturated fat is the bad fat. When fat are termed as bad and good, they indicate what effect they have on cholesterol in your body. Cholesterol has two parts HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL(low-density lipoprotein) . LDL is the one which helps to clog the artery and lead to heart disease. HDL do the reverse, they rather remove the LDL from artery. Now unsaturated fat lower the LDL level of cholesterol while saturated fat raise the LDL level in cholesterol. That is unsaturated fat is good fat and saturated fat is good fat. Let's look in more detail of these two types of fats.


Saturated fat

Most cases we consume saturated fat from animal products. If you like red meat and whole milk dairy products like cheese, butter, ice cream and sour cream then you are probably eating a lot of saturated fats. Saturated fats are also available in plant sources like coconut oil, cocoa butter and palm oil. Even if you are not a fan of these products then maybe you like to eat cookies and cakes. Many commercially prepared products like cookies, cakes, chocolate are made of these products (coconut oil, cocoa butter and in palm oil). Saturated fat is solid in room temperature. If you can't avoid fat, at least try to make sure you are not taking much saturated fat.


Unsaturated fat

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, both are unsaturated fats. They come from fish oils, plant oils, avocados, salmon, trout, herrings, nuts. One of the major sources of unsaturated fat is vegetable oils such as soybean, safflower, canola, corn, olive, canola and sunflower. These fats are liquid in room temperature. Though you will always hear that unsaturated fat is the good fat, but I want to remind you again that no fat is good for you. While unsaturated fat is not harmful for your heart, it is not good for an overweight person.


More on worse fat

We all know saturated fat increases LDL cholesterol level and it increases risk of heart disease. It also increases type 2 diabetes risk. There is another type of harmful fat known as trans fat. It is also harmful like saturated fat and to avoid trans fat you should avoid hydrogenated oil which is made from vegetable oil using a process called hydrogenation.

As I mentioned above if you are in a journey to flatten your stomach or you want to lose your weight no fat if good for you. I have discussed little more about it at the end of this article.


Types of unsaturated fat

I can mention three types of unsaturated fat; that is monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acid. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat both decrease risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Monounsaturated fat can even help you to control blood sugar level. These fats are usually liquid at room temperature. Olive oil, corn oil, peanut oil and many other foods contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. On the other hand omega-3 fatty acid is a type of polyunsaturated fat which is found in fish oil. Salmon, trout, sardine, tuna are well-known omega-3 sources. Omega-3 is also beneficial for heart.


So, why even unsaturated fats may not be good for you?

On ‘All About Calorie’ page I have discussed why calorie calculation is so important for losing weight and flattening your stomach. You have to burn more calories than you consume and fat is high in calories. So even if the foods you like have healthy fat (excess) you have to avoid those.

One may say fat is essential for body, some vitamins need fat so that they can dissolve and our body can consume those vitamins. I can assure you, if you can avoid processed low fat food and consume healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes you will get healthy fat, as I mentioned above our body needs very little amount of fat per day.


Tip: In one or two days a week instead of meat you can eat fishes rich with omega-3 fatty acids. It will give you required nutrition and at the same time you are replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat.


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