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Fats - Types, Importance, Source, and Fat Free Diet Issues

Creative Content Writer keens on researching and outspreading fitness and nutrition facts to make her readers lead a fit and fab life.

What Are Fats?

Foods rich in fat are called energy-yielding foods. It provides energy to sustain the continuance of life and convert food ingested into essential nutrients in the body.

Consumed foods are oxidized to meet the daily energy requirement. One gram of fat contributes 9 kcal that is double the 4 kcal contribution by carbohydrates and protein.

Fats are usually solid at room temperature and insoluble in water. It is divided into two types according to its appearance as visible and invisible fat.

  • Invisible fat - It forms an integral part of foods and is therefore not visible. It includes fat in meat, poultry, egg, dairy products, coconut, cereals, millets, seeds, and nuts.
  • Visible fat – It is felt physically and includes oil, butter, margarine, and ghee.
Fat Rich Foods

Fat Rich Foods

WHO Recommended Fat Intake

Essential fatty acids in the diet will provide 30% of the total energy requirements. Unsaturated fats are recommended, and the intake of saturated fats can be less than 10%, and trans fats should be less than 1% of total energy intake.

Around 600 kcal of energy can be obtained through fat in a 2000 kcal diet routine.

Important Functions of Fats in Body

  1. Fat is the concentrated source of energy for the human body.
  2. Fat is a good source of vitamin A, D, E, and K.
  3. It provides essential fatty acids (cannot be synthesized by the body) are the components of the membrane of living cells.
  4. Calories obtained through fat spare the proteins from being oxidized for energy.
  5. It is used to generate prostaglandins that are involved in various physiological functions.
  6. Deposited in the adipose tissue serves as a reservoir of energy during starvation.
  7. It also acts as an insulator conserving the body heat.
  8. Fat plays a major role in flavoring food and increases deliciousness.

Types of Fats in Food

Fats are classified into four types based on the fatty acid present in them as follows.

Saturated Fats

The saturated fatty acid structure comprises all single bonds, and thus it is solid at room temperature. It is advisable to consume moderate saturated fat in a diet. A higher level of saturated fatty acid will increase the bad LDL Cholesterol and lead to heart disease in the body.

Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated fatty acids consist of a minimum of one double bond in their chain structure, and thus it is liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fat is further divided into two forms.

Monounsaturated Fats ( Omega - 9 Fatty Acids)

A monounsaturated fatty acid consists of only one double bond in its structure. A diet high in monounsaturated fat will increase good HDL Cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, and helps in weight loss.

Polyunsaturated Fats ( Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Fatty Acids)

Polyunsaturated fatty acids consist of more than one double bond in their structure. It helps lower the LDL cholesterol level. It is further classified as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids - It includes 3 types of fatty acids involved in human physiology. The omega-3 fatty acid has immense benefits, including preventing cholesterol level, depression, anxiety, diabetes mellitus, cancer, arthritis, inflammatory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.
  2. Omega-6 Fatty Acids - It is one of the essential fatty acids. Omega-6 supports the proper functioning of the brain, bone health, hair, and regulation of metabolism.

Trans Fats

Trans fat is acquired through the process of hydrogenation. Vegetable fats are having low shelf life and rancid easily. Hydrogenation is used to convert unsaturated fatty acid content into saturated fatty acid by infusing hydrogen. This process will increase the shelf-life of the oil.

Trans fatty acids are considered as the bad sources that increase the risk of coronary artery disease.

Sources Of Fatty Acids

Olive Oil - Good Souce of Unsaturated Fat

Olive Oil - Good Souce of Unsaturated Fat

Good Fat Food List

Regular intake of the recommended amount of healthy fat ( unsaturated fatty acids) in the diet will increase good cholesterol levels and regulates the healthy growth of the body.

Unsaturated Fat Foods

Healthy or Good Fat Food List

Avocado

Olive oil

Peanut Butter or Oil

Walnut

Flax Seed oil

Soy Beans

Chia Seeds

Vegetable oil

Fishes

Bad Fat Food List

Bad fats are to be avoided in daily diet to lower the risk of diseases. Saturated fat and trans fat are included in this category. Whereas saturated fat can be taken in a limited amount in the diet for proper metabolism, but trans fat is to be completely avoided for betterment.

Saturated Fat Foods

Unhealthy or Bad Fat Food List

Cream

Butter

Ghee

Cheese

Fatty Meat

Coconut

Palm Oil

Whole Milk

Chocolate

Trans Fat Foods

Unhealthy or Bad Fat Food List

Margarine

Vanaspati

Doughnuts

Pastries

Cookies

Deep-Fried Chicken

Potato Fries

Pizza

Burger

Pizza - Source of Trans Fat

Pizza - Source of Trans Fat

Say "YES" to Unsaturated Fat, "OK" to Saturated Fat, and strictly "NO" to Trans Fat.

Effects of Low Fat Diet

Low intake of essential fatty acid will lead to the following effects,

  1. Lead to heart disease - Low fat or fat-free diet will lead to a lack of sources to improve HDL Cholesterol. This helps in reducing the risk of heart disease.
  2. Increase the risk of cancer - Omega- 3 fatty acids are required to reduce cancer cell growth in the body. A low-fat diet will increase the risk of colon and breast cancer.
  3. Lack of Vitamins - Essential fatty acids are good sources of vitamin A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are required to maintain growth, repair cells, immunity, and blood clotting in the body.
  4. Nutrition Imbalance - While undergoing a fat-free diet, calories can be meet up through other food sources. It includes an excess of protein or carbohydrates in the diet. Excess intake of carbohydrates leads to type-3 diabetics. On the other hand, a high protein diet will lead to osteoporosis.
  5. Halt growth - Deficiency of essential fatty acid will recess growth that results in flaky skin, itchy sores on the scalp.

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A balanced diet is required to manage and maintains routine life. A healthy diet chart will include all the essential nutrients without avoiding any major components. Fat is one of these factors to boost up health.

Planning a diet routine with the recommended amount of good fat will never lead to weight gain. Cheer up..!

Be fit and fab. Stay Safe.. :)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Myvizhi Palanisamy

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