What are fats?
Fats, also called lipids, are one of the three macro-nutrients required for our body to function properly. The other two macronutrients are carbohydrates and proteins.
Fats are necessary and we must remove them from our diet. Let’s see why!:
Fats carry fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K in our body. These vitamins are necessary for good vision and immune system, strengthening bones, to function as powerful antioxidants and help us to have good clotting.
Improve the taste and appearance of our food.
- We provide essential fatty acids (i.e. we need from the diet because our body can not produce). These essential fatty acids are important for our immune system and the health of our heart.
- All cells in our body need fatty acids to form its membrane and function properly.
- Protect our internal organs and tissues.
- They are stored in our body in a layer called adipose tissue under our skin and serves as an energy reserve.
- Some hormones are produced by the presence of fats, such as sex hormones.
What is the problem with fats?
Actually, there is no problem. The only thing is that we understand them and make the best choices, the healthiest for us.
The first thing to know is that 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories, more than twice the carbohydrates and proteins contain 4 calories per gram. This means that energy (calories) is highly concentrated in a small volume and we get many calories without realizing it. If we are watching our weight we need to choose low-fat foods to reduce calorie intake.
The two types of fat.
Fats are divided into 2 groups: Saturated and unsaturated.
Saturated: Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and usually come from animal sources. They are in the lard, butter, cheese, whole milk and foods containing as cakes, pies, muffins and other desserts, as well as meats and sausages. Making homemade sausage is easy, as long as you have the right sausage stuffer in your kitchen. Animal found coconut oil and palm oil. A high intake of saturated fat is associated with elevated cholesterol (LDL or bad cholesterol) which can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Consume little-saturated fat helps reduce that risk.
Trans fats: We saw that saturated fats are solid and are of animal origin. But margarine, if we check the label says it is made with vegetable oils, and still is solid. Why? In the food industry has been used vegetable oil for solid fats, a process called hydrogenation. A modification in the structure of the oils to achieve this consistency and the beginning of this trend was believed to be an excellent solution to not consume more butter (Satu dada). Eventually, it was found that trans fats (or partially hydrogenated) have a harmful effect on our health and the latest recommendations are completely avoid these fats.
Unsaturated fats such can actually distinguish because they are liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats and oils of vegetable origin. They are divided into monounsaturated fatty acids (omega-9) and polyunsaturated (omega 3 and 6) that are essential because our bodies can not produce. These oils are a much healthier choice than saturated fat because it does not raise cholesterol and can even be a source of vitamins and antioxidants. So you know, if you eat fat, which is a vegetable oil, and even better if it is olive oil.
How much fat is necessary?
The recommendation is that 35% of the energy comes from fat diet. For the average woman, this would be 70 grams of fat per day (about 5 tbsp) and 95 men (7 tablespoons). It’s a little difficult to measure our fat intake in grams because they are often “hidden” in foods so we have these tips to reduce fat intake:
- The cakes, fresh bread, and snacks are usually high in fat. Prefer alternatives such as fresh fruit, dried fruit, and whole grain products.
- Avoid fatty meats and remove the skin from chicken, so we will reduce saturated fat intake.
- Use the following cooking techniques: boiled, steamed and grilled instead of fried, breaded.
- Switch from whole milk to skim milk (or light).
- Check the label of the products, compared to two similar products and choose the one with less fat.
- If you use butter or margarine, vegetable oil-change it.