Nutrition Basics: Introduction To Fats
There are three most important macronutrients that are essential for normal growth of body. These macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Along with proteins and carbohydrates, fats are fundamental part for normal life activities. Fat are an essential part of our normal diet and is important for good health.
"Fats are may defined as large group of biological macronutrients that are composed of subunits, known as fatty acids and provide energy and protection to our body. Fats are also known as triglycerides."
Normally, there is a big confusion between fats, oils and lipids. Lipid is a general term, while lipids that are liquid at room temperature are termed as "oils" and lipids that are solid at room temperature are known as "fats".
Are Fats Good or Bad for our Health?
We often hear too many things about fats, that fats cause weight and other health issues. According to this sense we divide fats into two categories. That is "good" and "bad" fats. As name show that good fats are good for health and promote the body growth while bad fats are not good for health. But the truth is, the ‘excess’ of good or bad fats are bad for health.
A decent and proper amount even of bad fats are good for body health in various ways. This is a fact that we cannot live without having fats in our body. Number of body functions only rely on the presence of fats in our body. For example, some vitamins require fats presence to dissolve in our bloodstream. So, the defined amount of fats is essential and beneficial for regular body functions.
Classification of Fats:
Fats are divided into four sub-classes:
- Saturated Fats
- Monounsaturated Fats
- Polyunsaturated Fats
- Trans Fats
These are fats that do not have double bonds and are solid at room temperature for example, butter. These are also known as "animal fats" as these are found in animal products like in meat and dairy products. Saturated fats are considered as the "bad boys" of the fats family as the excess amount of these fats can cause increase blood cholesterol levels and other heart risks.
These fats have only one double bond in their chemical chain. Unlike saturated fats these fats are liquid at room temperature. Monounsaturated fats are beneficial for health. About 30% of our daily fats intake should be made up from monounsaturated fats.
These fats have more than one double bond and are very reactive one. Polyunsaturated fats are usually described as "Essential Fatty Acids" or EFA for short because they cannot be produced by our body. These fats are also good for health and save from many cardiovascular diseases.
Trans fats often considered as artificial fats and bad for our health. Trans fats can cause liver dysfunction and high cholesterol level that cause heart risks.
Functions of Fats:
There are countless functions and benefits of proteins in our body and some of the are listed below:
Fats are source of energy as dietary fatty acids can be converted directly into glucose by the liver. One gram of fat has 9 calories that is more than the amount of calories of protein and carbohydrates.
Absorption of Vitamins
Vitamins are important for body and are essential parts of our daily diet. Vitamin A, D, E and K are fat-soluble vitamins and dissolve in bloodstream in the presence of fats. As Vitamin D is fat soluble vitamin so, fats help the bones to more strong and in this way its save us from bone disease like osteoporosis.
Better Brain Function
As our brain mainly made of cholesterol and fats, so the normal intake of fats makes our brain healthy and more efficient and protect from risks of depression.
Insulation and Protection
Fats in the foam of adipose tissues found around the many organs and protect them from shock. They also act as insulation and maintain body temperature and thus save from severe heat shocks.
Improve Skin and Eye Health
Dry skin and eyes may cause by the deficiency of fats or fatty acids. Proper amount of saturated fats in our diet assist our body’s lubricate ability.
Apart from these advantages fats also play an important role in healthy immune system, better cholesterol level and muscle development.
Sources of Fats:
Mainly, Milk and dairy products like butter, cheese, and yogurt are source of fats. Whole eggs have large amount of cholesterol and fats. Unlike other fruits avocado are rich in fats.
Fatty fish are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, nuts, chia seed, coconut and olive oil are source of fats.