Unsaturated Fats! Hmm, from the name itself it seems that it is related somewhere with fats. So, to give your answers, first discuss, what is Fats or Dietary fats? Hey, relax! I will be covering every query you have. Fasten your seat belts, as we will be diving into the ocean of health to collect the wealth of wellness for you. So, are you ready? Great! Then let’s start.
As I told you above, to know about Unsaturated fats, you should know about fats or dietary fats. Dietary fats & fats are the same things. The fats that we consume through our diet are called dietary fats.
All foods & drinks have nutrients (such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals) in them. Some foods or drinks contain a large amount of one nutrient such as a soft drink, which contains a large amount of sugar, or fried foods, which contain a large amount of fat. The words ‘fat’ and ‘oil’ are often used to denote the same.
Dietary fats are essential for many body processes. For example, it helps in moving certain vitamins in the body and helps to make hormones.
What is fat?
Fat is a category of macronutrients, named triglycerides, which is used in metabolism. These make up one-third of the macronutrients including proteins and carbohydrates. Fats provide a way to store energy in many eukaryotes and also act as a food source.
Each gram of fat contains twice as many calories (energy) as carbohydrates or proteins. Because of this, if you have high-fat diets and drinks, you will be unable to maintain a healthy weight. Carrying too much body fat is a risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and multiple cancers. Fats can detoxify food, so low-fat diets can make food more enjoyable and can meet our long-term hunger.
Talking about fats, if we miss blood cholesterol, it will be a crime. Let’s go through a small snippet about Blood Cholesterol.
Dietary fats and our blood cholesterol
The two types of cholesterol in the blood are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
LDL is considered bad cholesterol because it contributes to the narrowing of the blood vessels, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack).
HDL cholesterol is considered ‘good’ cholesterol because it carries cholesterol in the blood and returns it to the liver, and it is broken down – hence reduces the risk of heart disease.
Now, as we have got some knowledge about Fats, let’s go to the main focus of our topic.
What are the different types of fats?
Fats are mainly of three types, as you can see from the diagram below:
The most important thing is that every type of fat works completely differently in our bodies. So let’s go through their functions & their common sources.
Saturated fats (also called ‘bad fats’) contribute to the risk of cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack) because they increase our blood cholesterol levels and LDL.
Which are saturated fat foods?
- Oily(fatty) cuts of meat
- Full-cream milk, cheese, butter, cream
- Most baked goods (such as biscuits and cakes)
- Most of the deep-fried fast foods
- Coconut and Palm oil.
As you can see, saturated fats are found in some everyday, healthy foods (such as dairy and meat products). Besides fats, these products also contain other essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, and they can be an important part of your diet.
It is recommended that you choose low-fat options. For example, select:
- Skim(low fat) milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Cutting meat or reducing meat fat before cooking.
Trans fats tend to behave like saturated fats in the body. They also raise blood LDL cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease (such as cardiac failure).
Unlike saturated fats, they tend to also lower HDL (good) cholesterol, so it is more likely to be harmful. So, limiting trans fat is very necessary.
Trans fat sources:
- Trans fats are rare in nature. They are only produced in the stomachs of cattle and sheep. As a result, trans fats are available in small amounts, in milk, cheese, beef, and lamb.
- Deep-fried foods & processed foods (such as pies, cakes, cakes, biscuits, and buns) also contains Trans fat.
As you already know, that unsaturated fats are of two types. Let’s talk about those types below:
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (also called ‘good fats’) tend to lower your blood LDL cholesterol when they are included instead of saturated fats in the diet.
Polyunsaturated fats have a greater ability to lower LDL cholesterol than monounsaturated fats.
Now let’s see some unsaturated fats examples i.e unsaturated fats food list.
Which are Monounsaturated fat foods?
Firstly presenting some of the monounsaturated fats examples or monounsaturated fats food lists:
- Avocados, nuts (such as peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and almonds – including peanut butter and nut butter)
- Margarine spreads (like canola or olive oil-based choices)
- Oils such as olive, canola, and peanut.
Which are Polyunsaturated fat foods?
Now, presenting some of the polyunsaturated fats examples or polyunsaturated fats food lists are
- Fish and seafood
- Polyunsaturated margarine
- Vegetable oils (such as safflower, sunflower, corn, or soy oil)
- Nuts (such as walnuts and Brazilian nuts) and seeds.
Polyunsaturated fats can be further classified into two types: Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids help with heart health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in:
- Oily fish, such as sardines, tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring
- Ground flax and flaxseed oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
There is controversy over the inflammatory role of omega-6 fatty acids. Most Americans consume enough of them. Eating too many omega-6 fats can increase inflammation in your body. It increases the risk of certain health conditions, including obesity.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in:
- Canola oil
- Safflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- Walnut oil
- Corn oil
Where possible, replace fatty foods and beverages in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated forms. For example:
- Replace butter with olive oil or margarine
- Replace potato chips or chocolate with plain nuts with a healthy snack alternative. You can also replace deep-fried fast foods with sandwiches or wraps made with lean meat and salad.
Always try to follow a nutrition-efficient diet for maintaining your fitness.
Now, as you know the basics of fats and their types, let’s jump into the valuable questions for which you are here. So without wasting any time, let’s start.
Is Unsaturated fats good for you or your health?
It is one of the most common questions asked everywhere. The health benefits of Unsaturated fats are listed below:
- It can help with weight loss and can be more effective than a low-fat, high-carb diet. (Keto diet is an example of this kind where you eat high fat, moderate protein & low carbs).
- It can help lowering blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and other risk factors for heart disease. Especially if they take unsaturated fats into the diet. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats can promote heart health, promote healthy infant growth, and prevent dementia in older adults.
- People with a high Monounsaturated diet have a lower rate of breast cancer.
- Improves insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control in those with high blood sugar and beyond.
- Help reducing inflammation, a process that can contribute to chronic diseases.
- Reduces Age-Related Depression.
- Improves Infant Development.
What happens if your diet lacks unsaturated fats?
Unsaturated fats are energy-rich macronutrients. These are responsible for improving blood cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation, and helping to stabilize the heartbeat, among other functions. Reducing unsaturated fats from your daily diet leads to many side effects. Those side effects are listed below:
High Risk of Heart Disease
Men and women whose diet is low in saturated fat are less likely to die of a sudden heart attack. Because saturated fats lower blood pressure. Cutting back on these fats puts you at greater risk for heart disease than regular intake.
High risk of type 2 diabetes
Consuming polyunsaturated fats, like those found in vegetable-and-vegetable oils, rather than saturated fats has been shown to improve insulin resistance. This minimizes the risk of type 2 diabetes. The close relationship between type 2 diabetes and heart disease includes the effects of unsatisfactory fat deficits, making existing diabetics more prone to heart disease if their unsaturated fat intake is inadequate.
Reduced Understanding Function due to lower unsaturated fats
According to Oregon State University, high levels of omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, in the brain make unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids play a vital part in essential brain development and dementia. Animal studies have shown that depletion of the DHA brain leads to a lack of learning. Other long-term human studies have shown that regular omega-3 fatty acid intake can cut down the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Increased severity of the inflammatory response
Unsaturated fatty acids are also part of eicosanoids, which are chemical agents. It regulates body function and inflammation in the body. A low-fat diet disrupts the balance of fatty acids in cell membranes, leading to the formation of eicosanoids. It causes inflammatory responses and constricts blood vessels. This means that the inflammatory responses in people deprived of unsaturated fats will be much more severe than those of people receiving adequate nutrition.
Recommendations on fats(especially unsaturated fats) in your diet
- Reduce your fatty foods – like biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips, crisps, and other nutritious snacks.
- Exchange high saturated fat foods (such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut, and palm oil), with foods that contain healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (such as fats, spreads, nuts butter and pastes, and avocado).
Remember, low-fat diets are not applicable for children under two years of age.
If you are unsure about your diet, please see your doctor or dietitian.
Unsaturated fats are bad?
No. Unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids. Both mono-and poly-unsaturated fatty acids can be used in the replacement of saturated fat. These help you to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Can you eat too many unsaturated fats?
No. Eating too many unsaturated fats will result in weight gain. All types of fats contain 9 calories per gram. These are twice as much as proteins & carbohydrates.
Why unsaturated fats better than saturated fats?
Saturated fats increase our blood cholesterol levels and LDL, hence causing the risk of cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack). Whereas unsaturated fats tend to lower your blood LDL cholesterol. Hence maintains blood pressure & keeps your heart healthy.
Why unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature?
Unsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils such as canola, olive, and corn oil. Their double bonds make the loops in the molecule, making the fat too often be in a liquid state at room temperature.
Where are unsaturated fats found?
Unsaturated fats, especially in plant-based products, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.
So, what we have learned from the above article? Increase the intake of Unsaturated fats (such as fats, spreads, nut butter and pastes, and avocado), instead of saturated fats (biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips, crisps, etc). These will keep your heart healthy, will help in losing weight, help you in brain development, reduces cancer, etc. So start taking an unsaturated diet and start being healthy reducing the bad fats of your body. But don’t take high unsaturated fat in your diet. It will backfire & you will be gaining weight. Hoping that I can provide you with appropriate answers to most asked questions.
If still you have some doubts or still have some queries about Unsaturated fats, you can comment to me. I will be answering your query for sure. And if you have enjoyed my content, then do comment as it motivates me to create more contents for you.