Types of Dietary FAT

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There are 4 types of fats, each with different chemical composition:

* I have abbreviated the types of FAT to make it easy to remember.
Click on the unserlined FAT type to know more about them.

When we are talking about Dietary Fat, it is important to know about Essential Fatty Acids . Click on the underlined words to know about them.

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Saturated Fat ( SF )... Facts

....These are called as The Bad Fat.

By now, we know that fats are made up of fatty acids. More the hydrogen atoms connected to the carbon chain, higher the fat with saturation.

  • SF are solid at room temperatures.
  • This fat has high melting point.
  • We obtain them from animal sources such as
    poultry, meat, whole milk, cheese, lard, bacon, butter.
    We also obtain them from Tropical vegetable oils such as
    coconut oil, palm oil and the food made with these oils e.g. banana chips fried in coconut oil.
  • SF contains fatty acids like stearic acid, palmitic acid, and butyric acid.
  • It has a fat molecular structure, packed with hydrogen, with no space left.
  • Processed food products like Biscuits, cakes, tarts, pastries, chocolates, ice creams, coffee creamers made using hardened or hydrogenated vegetable oil are, also, the source of saturated fat
  • Specific foods rich in saturated fats are:
    • Chicken fat (30%)
    • Vegetable shortening (31%)
    • Lard (40%)
    • Beef fat (50%)
    • Butter(62%)
    • Palm kernel oil (81 percent), and
    • Coconut oil (86 percent)

  • .... So, consume these food items in moderation.

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MonoUnSaturated Fat ( MUSF )... Facts

....These are called as The Good Fat.

  • At room temperature MUSF stays oil and is in the liquid form.
  • It runs cloudy when kept in refrigerator.
  • You may obtain it by consuming plant sources like: canola oil, peanut oil, olive oil.
  • Olive oil has highest monounsaturated fat.
  • It is also found in margarine with vegetable oils high in MUSF.
  • Other sources are nut products and nuts like peanut butter, hazel nuts... to name a few.
  • Comparison of Deitary FatsClick on the chart to get the comparison of dietary fats
  • They are called as the GOOD FAT for various reasons like:
    1. It increased HDL ( Happy or good Cholesterol )
    2. It reduces triglycerides level. (triglyceride is a kind of circulating fat found in cholesterol and plague)
    3. It slows down the process of plague formation in coronary arteries.
    4. When we replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat in our diet, we lower the risk of heart disease. E.g.
      • Replace butter(animal product) with a spread having olive oil or canola oil. These oils are high in MUSF.
      • Cook in oils that are high in MUSF such as canola oil, olive oil.
      • Refer chat with comparison of dietary fats, shown above.

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PolyUnSaturated Fat ( PUSF )... Facts

....These are called as The Good Fat.

  • At room temperatures as well at cold temperatures it stays in liquid.
  • It has lower melting point in comparison with MUSF and SF.
  • Sources: Mainly vegetable oils like Canola oil, Sunflower oil, Nuts and seeds, Cold water fish such as Salmons ( They are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids).
  • Omega-6 fatty acid is obtained from vegetable oils.
  • Comparison of Deitary Fats Refer comparison dietary chart to know the amount of PUSF each food item has.
  • .... It is also observed that commercial processing of vegetable oils rich in PUSF, looses its health promoting properties.

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Trans Fat ( TF ) ... Facts

These are the ugly fats.

  • Commercial food processors hydrogenate PUSF to create TF.
  • TF stays solid at room temperature.
  • TF is used in fast foods, fried foods and/or commercially processed food because ...
    • TF enhances the food flavor, taste and texture.
    • It increases the shelf life of the food products available on the shelf such as biscuits, cookies to name a few.
  • ....Why these are called the ugly fats ???

  • They give bad impact on HDL ( Happy or high density cholesterol). So they behave like saturated fats in terms of their effect on human body.
  • TF increases LDL ( Lousy or bad Cholesterol) and triglycerides.
  • The worst is it reduces the HDL ( Happy or high density cholesterol).
  • Such an imbalance of HDL and LDL increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and arthritis.
It would be wise to avoid TF as far as possible. When TFs are used to fry food items such as french fries, worst kind of unhealthy fatty acids are produced.
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Essential Fatty acids ( EFA )... Facts

They are the other kind of Dietary Fatty Acids.
..... They are essential to us because ....

  • They are important factor to healthy immune system.
  • They help us in breaking down and in getting rid of SFAs.
  • They adjust cholesterol metabolism rate.
  • Our bodies cannot make them. So, we have to obtain them by consuming MUSFs and PUSFs.
  • Two most important groups of EFAs are:
    • omega-6 (N6 EFA)
    • omega-3 (N3 EFA)

  •  Type-->  omega-3 (N3 EFA)  omega-6 (N6 EFA)
     Sources  Olive, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, and freshly ground wheat germ
    These can be available in most of the health food section in stores
     Safflower, sunflower, corn, and evening primrose oils
     Other Information  The chief of the N3 EFA family is Linolenic acid (ALA)  The primary chief of the N6 EFAs family is Linoleic acid.
    There are other sub divisions as well
     Why are they required?  Critical for eye, brain, and neurological function
    N3 EFAs is also a blood thinner that prevents platelet forming a cluster and strokes
     It is important in the texture and appearance of the skin and blood vessel structure
     Deficiency  Can cause impaired brain function and decreased IQ  Has a bad effect on the circulatory system.
    May result in increased triglyceride, cholesterol, and blood pressure; hardening and obstruction of arteries; abnormal hair loss; increased urination; and skin disorders
     What if consumed in excess   It worsens diabetes and bleeding   I could not find them

  • Tips to avoid deficiency of EFAs:
    • Eat leafy green vegetables and other food sources rich in omega3 and omega 6 fatty acids
    • Eat fish ( 8-10 ounces each week) rich in these EFAs like Sardine, Salmons
    • Eat omega-3 eggs( chickens are fed on flaxseeds)
    • Eat marine plants like sea weeds
    • Eat Poultry and lean meat, where animal stock is fed on EFA rich food
    • If taking fish oil supplements, consult your family physician and pharmacist if you can take vitamin E ( a fat soluble antioxidant)along with it

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