Many people believe that fat is not a healthy substance. However, fats are one of the most important nutrients in the body. The body needs fats to store energy and many of its vital activities. There are several types of fats. In this article, we want to know what is unsaturated fat and how it differs from saturated fat and which fat is better for health.
What does unsaturated fat mean?
What are unsaturated fats? Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, but can also be found in solid foods..
Types of unsaturated fats
There are two major types of unsaturated fats:
1. Unsaturated fats
Research has shown that consuming monounsaturated vegetable fats may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. The foods that have the highest amount of monounsaturated fats are:
- olive oil;
- Most brains;
- Most seeds;
- Peanut oil.
2. Unsaturated fats
The body needs polyunsaturated fats to perform its functions. Unsaturated fats help with muscle movement and blood clotting. Because the body cannot make these fats, they must be obtained through diet. Polyunsaturated fats themselves fall into two main categories: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are good for heart health. The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:
- Chia seeds;
- Wrinkled oysters;
- sunflower seed;
- Flaxseed powder and flaxseed oil;
- Fatty fish such as sardines, tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring.
- Omega-6 fatty acids
There is controversy about the inflammatory effect of omega-6 fatty acids. Most Americans consume more omega-6 fats than they need. Excessive consumption of omega-6 fatty foods may increase inflammation in the body and increase the risk of heart problems such as obesity. Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in the following ingredients:
- corn oil;
- Walnut oil;
- soy oil;
- canola oil;
- Safflower oil;
- Sunflower oil.
What does Saturated Fat Mean?
Saturated fats are saturated with hydrogen molecules and there is only one chain between their carbon molecules. Saturation of hydrogen molecules causes saturated fats to be solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are found in animal products such as milk, cheese and meat, and some tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm oil.
Investigating the differences between unsaturated fats and saturated fats
Researchers have been studying the health effects of saturated fats and unsaturated fats for decades. Recent research has shown that there is insufficient evidence that consuming saturated fats increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Harvard Medical School.
However, according to a 2017 study, evidence suggests that choosing polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Of course, this is not the case when it comes to replacing saturated fats with processed sugars and carbohydrates.
Some oils have more health benefits than others. Although canola oil is unsaturated fat, it is heavily processed. According to a 2018 study, canola oil may have a negative effect on health. It is recommended to consume oils in moderation and also in different types.
According to a 2016 study, overheating vegetable oils may reduce their antioxidant activity and increase the production of free radicals, which has a negative effect on a person’s health. Avoid overheating or burning vegetable oils so as not to damage their nutritional content.
Most fatty foods contain a combination of different fatty acids. Usually Foods do not only contain saturated or unsaturated fats, which makes it difficult to eliminate certain types of fat from the diet. Most health organizations recommend that you eat moderate amounts of saturated fats and replace them with unsaturated fats as much as possible.
The link between high saturated fat intake and the incidence of heart disease
In a 2017 study, it was reported that there is a link between high consumption of saturated fats and the incidence of heart disease. Researchers have reported that saturated fats may increase levels of bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL). Elevated levels of bad cholesterol in the blood may increase the risk of heart disease. Researchers have also reported that replacing unsaturated fats with saturated fats may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Recent research, however, challenges the link between saturated fat intake and heart disease. A 2019 study found no significant effect of reducing saturated fat intake on reducing the risk of heart disease.
Conclusions from research
It is a bit difficult to make an accurate decision about the effect of saturated fats on health. While diets high in saturated fat may increase weight and increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, they may not be as bad as previously thought by scientists.
In contrast, the positive effects of unsaturated fats on health have been proven. The first evidence of their positive effects dates back to the 1960s. Studies show that people in Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean who follow high-fat diets are less likely to have heart problems and heart disease than expected.
Unsaturated fats can lower bad cholesterol levels and inflammation and build stronger cell membranes in the body. Also, according to a study in 2014, unsaturated fats can also reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
What should be the daily intake of fats?
Humans need fat; Therefore, you do not need to eliminate fats from your diet. However, regulators recommend consuming saturated fats in moderation. The American Heart Association recommends that saturated fats make up less than 6 percent of your daily calories. This is equivalent to 120 calories or 13 grams in a diet containing 2,000 calories.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, total fat intake should be between 20 and 35% of daily calories. This is equivalent to 44 to 77 grams of a diet containing 2,000 calories. However, research has shown that some high-fat diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and low-carb diets, are also good for a person’s general health. In addition, your energy needs, genetic factors, and lifestyle are factors that affect your need for macronutrients.
A healthy diet starts with a diet rich in whole foods that contain healthy sources of fat such as avocados, nuts, seeds, eggs and olive oil. However, over-consumption of any macronutrient may lead to weight gain. Excessive consumption of high-fat foods may also cause weight gain. Overweight and obesity may also increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes.
Although fats are an essential part of your diet, try to choose the most appropriate and natural types of fats and enjoy consuming moderate amounts of them as part of a healthy diet.
Other sources: healthline