Will you be able to lose weight if you eliminate fats from your diet? Not really. Fats are one of the seven essential nutrients of a balanced diet and we can’t live without them. But we need to understand Saturated fats vs Unsaturated fats – Which is healthier for our body?
Fats provide essential fatty acids which help in keeping your skin soft, help your body absorb vitamins, and are a great source of energy. Not sure which fats are these? Is it saturated fats or unsaturated fats?
It’s very easy to get confused about how much fats should we be eating, how to avoid bad fats that clog our arteries, and what role omega-3 fatty acids play in heart health.
When it comes to following a healthy diet, it is always important to minimize or avoid fatty foods. It’s because certain types of fat and a fat-like substance called cholesterol play a major role in diseases like
But not all fats are bad for health. Some fats are better than others and they promote good health. Knowing the difference between good fats and bad fats can help you determine the foods to avoid and the foods that can be eaten in moderation.
Dietary fats can be found in both plants and animals. Certain fats are bad for our health while others offer plenty of health benefits.
Fat is very much essential for our body to function properly just like we need proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and all other nutrients. However, we gain weight when we consume excess calories of fat.
Fats are present in all types of food and oils but the type of fat that is present is what makes them healthy or unhealthy.
Read more on Obesity here
What are Saturated fats?
Saturated fat is a type of dietary fat. It is solid at room temperature. Transfats can be manufactured by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil.
Both Saturated fats and trans fats are unhealthy and harmful to our health. They are found in meat and dairy products. It is best to avoid foods that contain high amounts of saturated fats. Eating too much-saturated fats increases the bad cholesterol levels in our body which results in heart ailments. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the saturated fat intake to less than 7% of daily calorie intake.
What foods are high in saturated fats?
Saturated fats are found in red meat, dairy products, baked goods, and fried products.
Trans Fats are found in foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. You may find trans fats in fried foods, baked goods, processed foods, margarine, and vegetable shortening.
Trans fats raise LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels in our body similar to saturated fats. It can also suppress HDL (good cholesterol) in our body. Increased amounts of trans fats can cause inflammation in our body and may cause illnesses like diabetes, heart ailments, and stroke.
Hence it is always advisable to read the detailed ingredient list of the food packet before purchasing them,
What are Unsaturated fats?
Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and found in oils and nuts.
Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats and they are considered good for your health. Eating these types of fats have known to improve good cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of cardiovascular ailments. These types of fats are present in nuts, avocados, peanut butter, almond butter, olive oil, and peanut oil.
Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats that the body cannot make and needs to get from food. These fats are present in plant-based foods. Similar to monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats are good for our heart health and are known for lowering cholesterol levels.
Omega 3 fatty acid is a type of fat that is known to be beneficial for your heart. They are known to decrease the risk of coronary heart ailments, lower blood pressure levels, and also guard against irregular heartbeats. These types of fats are present in chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, tofu, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc.
While saturated fats and trans fats are harmful to our bodies, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for our bodies. We need to consume foods rich in healthier fats in moderation as they too are high in calories. This can improve our heart health and help us lead a better lifestyle.
How can I start eating healthier?
Start replacing foods high in saturated fats with foods high in unsaturated fats.
Follow these tips to reduce unhealthy fat in your diet
- Eliminate oil, butter, ghee, and dairy products from your diet.
- Do oil-free cooking?
- Use healthy fats like almond butter, peanut butter, and coconut butter in moderation to replace oil.
- Opt for steaming, baking instead of deep-frying.
- Use an air fryer or OTG for cooking as you can cook without oil.
- Avoid processed food as they are high in saturated fats. Instead reach out for fruits and vegetables, homemade snacks when you are hungry.
- Start using dairy-free alternatives instead of milk.
- Use plant-based cheese instead of dairy cheese.
- Opt for vegan mock meats instead of regular meat.
- Opt for plant-based curd-like peanut curd, or cashew curd instead of curd made from milk.
You don’t have to eliminate fat from your diet. But be wise to choose the type of fat to be consumed and the amount to be consumed. Choose foods that are rich in unsaturated fats and not saturated fats to lead a healthy lifestyle.