Fats: A Dangerous Ally

Fats, oh the bane of our existence. So good, so tasty and so bad. Well not all bad. It is all a matter of type of fat and the intake. Sadly, good fats are not those that come in our favorite spreads, snacks, fried potatoes, sour cream or mayonnaise. No, these are all bad, packed with very unhealthy and very harmless trans, saturated fats and cholesterol. They may taste good, but that is just a rouse. Excessive fat leads to serious health problems such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, stoke, heath attack as well as immune disorders.

We do need some fats to survive so we have to ingest controlled amounts to stay healthy. The trick is limiting the amount, recognizing and selecting fats that are good for us. Let’s look at some major types of fats.

Most fats in food and our body are in form of triglycerides, composed of a glycerol and three fatty acids tied together in one structure. Depending on individual properties of fatty acids involved, fats differ in stability, oxidation susceptibility and appearance.

They come in four following forms:

  1. Saturated Fat
  2. Unsaturated Fats
  3. Cholesterol
  4. Trans Fat

Fats have an important role in our body. They provide energy, cushion organs and tissues, insulate body from adverse temperature changes, help us absorb vitamins and minerals, maintain blood pressure and more.

While fats should be a part of a healthy diet, we often ingest much higher amounts than needed, resulting in weight gain, obesity and a large range of chronic aliments such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, heat attacks and strokes.

To be effective and avoid detrimental effects, recommended fat intake should consist of no more than 30% and no less than 10% of our daily calories. Stray but a little, and problems start. On one side there is weight gain, on the other vitamin and mineral malabsorption. An easy way to estimate daily dose of fats is by a spoon. A healthy adult needs about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vegetable fats per day. In a healthy, well balanced diet, this is the amount of fat contained collectively in all groceries and meal preparations in one day. There really is no need to ingest fat other than that.

For a  great low fat alternatives, and detailed guidelines on maintaining a healthy diet, visit Herbal Diet.

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