Fat is a vital form of nutrient that needs to be present in a perfectly balanced diet. But many people have the opinion that more fat intake leads to obesity and other ailments. So they prefer to eliminate fat totally from their daily diet.
However, this is a wrong idea and the presence of some fats is essential for supplying sufficient energy to the body. It is necessary for people to know the good and bad effects of the different varieties of fats on human health.
Classification Of Fats As Per Modern Nutrition
There are two types of fats, namely saturated fat and unsaturated fat. The main component of all types of fats is the fatty acid, which determines the nature of the fats.
This fatty acid may be either saturated with a single atomic bond, or unsaturated with minimum one double bond among all the fatty acid atoms.
Contrary to common belief that saturated fat is unhealthy for the human body, it is now established by the scientists and dieticians that limited amounts of both these fat varieties need to be included in the daily diet of a normal healthy person.
Thus, the modern dieticians suggest the inclusion of both saturated and unsaturated fats in the regular diet of a healthy person, but should be consumed in recommended amounts only.
The monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) are commonly known as good fats, due to their number of beneficial effects on common human health.
The polyunsaturated fats are further classified into Omega-3 and Omega-6, both of which are extremely essential for human health and thus termed as essential fatty acids. Various vegetables, nuts, eggs and sea fishes, like sardines, mackerels and salmon supply large amounts of these varieties of PUFA.
There is also another variety of unsaturated fats, which is named as trans fat and it has been proved to be responsible for causing artery blockage. Actually, it is not a natural fat and is created due to the hydrogenation of the natural food products. So now it is suggested by the doctors to avoid this type of fatty foods totally.
Basic Differences Between Saturated And Unsaturated Fats
Saturated fats have thick density as these fat particles are closely grouped together. These fats mostly exist in a solid state at normal room temperature.
Red meats like pork, beef, and mutton are the most common sources of saturated fats, which are also available in a few dairy products like butter, whole milk, and cheese. Chocolates and coconut oil are also rich in saturated oil.
Much intake of saturated fats increases the level of Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, which often leads to heart attack, cerebral stroke, and diabetes. It is also known as a major cause of atherosclerosis or artery blockage. Hence, not more than 20 gm of saturated fat should be consumed daily by a person having normal health.
The foods rich in saturated fats can be stored for a much longer time. Hence, most of the frozen or canned foods contain large amounts of this fat that increase the longevity of those food items.
Thus, the intake of saturated fatty foods must be limited for ensuring good health, mainly for the children, aged people and the patients suffering from diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiac ailments.
The particles of unsaturated fats are not firmly packed together, thus these fats are generally seen in a liquid state, even at optimum temperature.
All varieties of edible oils, like olive oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, walnut oil, peanut oil, and fish oil are the best sources of unsaturated fats. Cashew nuts, hemp seeds, and many varieties of sea fishes also supply these fats.
Unsaturated fats are of two kinds; namely monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, both of which are considered as beneficial for lowering unhealthy cholesterol level, making muscular movements easier and even protecting against cardiovascular diseases, as well as help to increase High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol.
On an average, 50 gm of unsaturated fat can be safely included in the daily diet of any healthy person that fulfills the requirements of fats in the body.
The intake of unsaturated fatty acids are recommended by the dieticians and doctors for safeguarding the cardiovascular health of the patients.
Therefore, a wise intake of the saturated and unsaturated fats can keep a person in healthy condition for many years, thus extending his/her longevity.