Table of contents:

Fats: what are they, why are they needed and is it worth fearing them
Fats: what are they, why are they needed and is it worth fearing them

To be healthy and lean, you need to eat fat every day.

Fats: what are they, why are they needed and is it worth fearing them
Fats: what are they, why are they needed and is it worth fearing them

What are fats

Fats are, in general terms, chains of the truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. A long carbon-hydrogen "tail" (fatty acids) stretches behind the "head", which contains atoms of other substances, such as oxygen.

In a typical molecule of edible fat (animal or vegetable), the "head" is alcohol glycerin, and there are three "tails" at once - that is why such fats are called triglycerides.

Fats: the triglyceride model
Fats: the triglyceride model

If we remember that people are a carbon form of life (however, like any other organic matter on Earth), it becomes clear that carbon for us is not only not harmful, but even necessary. As well as oxygen and hydrogen, which are part of the molecules of edible fats.

Why do you need fats

These compounds play an important role in the functioning of our body. First of all, fats are an important source of energy for every cell in the body.

How many calories are in one gram of fat, carbohydrate, or protein? twice as many kilocalories (they measure the energy value of food) than 1 g of protein or carbohydrates.

This is why we love fatty foods so much. For our ancestors, they were the key to survival. If, with a lack of food, you managed to grab a handful of fatty nuts or a piece of meat, then you have enough energy to survive the cold night, hunt and leave offspring. And if you had to be content with berries and gnaw a skinny bird's leg, there would be no strength for copulation. All of us, even those on a strict diet, are the heirs of the ancient fat lovers. Unconscious desire to eat high-calorie foods in our blood.

But the body has other reasons, The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between to demand fat. For example:

  • Fat is needed to build cell membranes - a vital barrier that protects every cell.
  • Fat forms the membranes of nerve cells and plays a critical role in the transmission of nerve impulses: without it, we would not be able to move and think.
  • Thanks to fat, substances are formed that regulate blood clotting, the intensity of inflammatory reactions, the work of immunity, and so on.
  • Fat: the facts vitamins A, D and E are not digested without fat. It is not for nothing that they are called fat-soluble.

The list goes on. But there is one indisputable fact: fats are essential. If you try to do without them, the frightened body will do whatever it takes to conserve available supplies. Therefore, losing weight on a fat-free diet is a stupid and extremely ineffective idea.

However, fats are different: they differ from each other in the length and shape of the carbon chain, as well as in the number of hydrogen atoms associated with carbon atoms. At first glance, these differences may seem small. But because of them, fats are liquid or solid and affect the body in different ways.

What are fats

From the point of view of value for the body, these substances can be divided into three types: useful, harmful and an intermediate, somewhat controversial option. Let's go through each.

Saturated fat: a controversial option

The word "saturated" in this case refers to the number of hydrogen atoms surrounding each carbon atom. There are many of them, fat is rich in them, therefore it has a stable crystal structure.

Saturated fat
Saturated fat

Thanks to this, the substance does not flow, retains its hardness at room temperature. Classic examples of foods high in saturated fat include lard, lard, fatty meats, bacon, sausages, butter, sour cream from 20%, cheeses, coconut and cocoa butter.

For a long time, saturated fats have been thought to be harmful - they allegedly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, then new data appeared. As the Revisiting dietary fat guidelines large-scale study showed? with the participation of more than 135 thousand people, carbohydrates are the first to hit the heart. If you reduce their amount in the diet, while increasing the percentage of fat, mortality from cardiovascular disease will even decrease.

However, it is important to get saturated fats from healthy sources (quality dairy products, animal foods) and not exceed the daily calorie intake for your gender, age, weight and physical activity.

Better yet, replace some of the saturated fat with unsaturated fat. In this case, the risk of CVD will decrease Saturated Fats Compared With Unsaturated Fats and Sources of Carbohydrates in Relation to Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Prospective Cohort Study by 15-25%.

Unsaturated fat: definitely healthy

In such compounds, there are few hydrogen atoms. Therefore, unsaturated fats are less stable and have a flowing, liquid appearance.

Unsaturated fats
Unsaturated fats

Foods rich in these nutrients provide you with essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For example:

  • all liquid vegetable oils - sunflower, olive, corn, flaxseed, soybean, avocado and so on;
  • nuts: walnuts, hazelnuts and others;
  • oily fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines.

Unsaturated fats reduce the truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between the level of "bad" cholesterol in the blood, normalize blood pressure, reduce the risk of CVD and have a good effect on metabolism in general, allowing all organs and systems to work just like this, how to.

Trans fats: definitely harmful

Trans fats are obtained from unsaturated fats by adding hydrogen atoms to them (this process is called hydrogenation). Thanks to this, the substance becomes solid from a liquid, but acquires a structure that the human body simply cannot assimilate.

As a result, trans fats do not bring the slightest benefit: they are not involved in the absorption of vitamins, the production of cell membranes, and other processes important to health. But Trans fat is double trouble for your heart health harm the body:

  • increase the level of "bad" cholesterol in the blood;
  • increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes;
  • contribute to the development of diabetes;
  • become the cause of chronic inflammatory processes;
  • possibly cause Comparison of the 1997 and 2003 American Diabetes Association Classification of Impaired Fasting Glucose: Impact on Prevalence of Impaired Fasting Glucose, Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors, and Coronary Heart Disease in a Community-Based Medical Practice cancer.

Therefore, it is so important to know which foods contain the most artificially synthesized fats - "mutants". Avoid store baked goods, fast food, frozen dough (including pizza), cookies, cakes, dairy-free coffee creamers.

How much fat do you need

Enough to get 20-35% of them Fat: What You Need to Know calories from the total calorie intake per day.

With an average caloric intake of 2,000 kcal, an adult should eat 44–77 g of fat daily. This is the norm that will allow you to stay healthy, active and slim.

At the same time, it is important to focus on useful types, refusing harmful ones. Here's how much and what fats Fat: What You Need to Know recommends to consume:

  • Unsaturated fat - 20-30% of total calories per day. On average, it is about 40-60 g.
  • Saturated fat - up to 10% of total calories. Fat: the facts for men should consume no more than 30 g of saturated fat per day, women - no more than 20 g.
  • Trans fats - 0%. Not eating foods with trans fats at all is the best option. If for some reason this is not possible, try to keep the amount of hydrogenated oils in your menu less than 2 g Facts about trans fats per day (1% of the total calorie intake).