Fats are the body’s stored energy source. When the body has enough energy requirements, the excess energy is converted into fat and is stored by the body for use at a later time. Fat can be found in food and are an important nutrient for the body.
Bad and Good Kinds of Fats
There are two kinds of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats usually increase cholesterol levels in the blood. Too much consumption of saturated fats is not recommended as it can lead to various health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Unsaturated fats are considered as the “good” type of fat. This is because unsaturated fats help reduce cholesterol in the blood. There are two classifications of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Studies have shown that monounsaturated fat increases the level of HDL (high-density lipids) in the blood. HDL, or ‘good cholesterol,’ protects the heart from disease and attacks. Thus, taking in a moderate amount of foods that are rich in monounsaturated fat is recommended for a healthy diet. Polyunsaturated fat also helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Both types of unsaturated fats also lower LDL (low-density lipids) in the blood. LDL is considered to be a ‘bad cholesterol’ as consumption of this type of fat leads to various heart diseases.
Food Sources of Fats
A lot of types of food are sources of fat, both saturated and unsaturated ones. Meats like beef, veal, pork, poultry, and dairy products such as butter and milk are a rich source of saturated fats. Other sources of saturated fats are coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter and tropical oils.
Food sources of unsaturated fats include fish, seeds and various plant-derived oils. Seafood like salmon, herring and trout are very good sources of unsaturated fats. Other food sources of unsaturated fats include avocados, walnuts, and vegetable oils like soybean oil, safflower oil and olive oil.
What Happens to Excess Fat Accumulated in the Body?
Although fat is important in the production of hormones, blood regulation and in maintaining healthy skin, too much of it in the body is not recommended. In fact, it is always ideal to take minimal amounts of fat everyday, as indicated by nutrition experts. In fact, The American Heart Association recommends that consumption of fat everyday should only be 30% of the total daily calorie intake. An excessive amount of fat in the body leads to various heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, certain types of cancers and other health problems.