Monday, April 9, 2012

Demystifying Fats

I am sure, Like most, you too are confused with the 24578 types of fats that can be present in the food you consume.Also, each of these Twenty four thousand five hundred and seventy eight types of fats have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The "Fat Types" is a big maze to many. I say this because there are times when people tell me that x type of fat is better than the y type of fat when in fact it is the exact opposite.
So today I've decided to Demystify Fats and hopefully by the end of this post you'll be able to advise people on this subject.

So ya..There are 4 types of Fats:  (24578 ? I may have exaggerated there)

  1. Monounsaturated fat 
  2. Polyunsaturated fat , further divided into the types:
    • Omega-6 Polyunsaturated fats 
    • Omega-3 Polyunsaturated fats 
  3. Saturated fat 
  4. Trans fat. 
1) Monounsaturated Fats:(MUF)
MUFs are usually liquids at room temperature.There is a good amount of research which suggests that MUFs are good for health.MUFs help in reducing the risk of Heart Disease by reducing levels of Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) in the blood.They may also benefit people with Type 2 Diabetes by controlling insulin levels and blood sugar.Also MUFs are high in Vitamin E which helps maintenance and development of cells in the body.

Sources of MUFs
  • Vegetable oils  
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Avocado

2) Polyusaturated Fats: (PUF)
PUFs are also usually liquids at room temperature. There are some PUFs that cannot be produced by the body, like, Omega-3 Polyunsaturated fats and Omega-6 Polyunsaturated fats.PUFs too help in reducing the risk of Heart Disease by reducing levels of Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) in the blood. According to Mayoclinic they may also protect against irregular heartbeats and help lower blood pressure levels. PUFs also help in Brain Development.

Sources of Omega 6 PUFs:
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
Sources of Omega 3 PUFs:
  • Soybean oil
  • Canola oil
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Fish:  trout, herring, and salmon

3) Saturated Fats: (SF)
These are mostly solids at room temperature. We all know what these are. Examples of foods containing a high proportion of saturated fat include animal fats such as cream, cheese, butter, and ghee; suet, tallow, lard, and fatty meats. High consumption of SFs is a leading cause of Heart Disease along with various others.

4) Trans Fats: (TF)
Unlike other MUFs , PUFs and SFs, Trans Fats are mainly artificial in nature. They are made by the process of Partial Hydrogenation. Liquid Vegetable Oil ( otherwise healthy MUFs and PUFs) are bombarded with Hydrogen Atoms and converted into solid Fats.
  • The World Health Organization says an adult male can have 2.6g of trans fats a day, female 2.1g and a child 2.3g
  • Pepsi Co's LAYS CHIPS (endorsed by Many cricketers and Saif Ali khan)contain 3.7g trans fats/ 100g. Earlier sold as zero trans fats chips but they removed the claim from the label later. ( Yes, they lied)... 
Benefits to the Food Industry?
  • It gives food a texture and mouthfeel that we all love so much and crave more and more ( remember cookies, French Fries , pastries, creamy frostings etc.)
  • It makes the oil reusable in deep fat frying 
  • It increases the melting point of fats
Trans Fats are the worst of the lot, worse than Saturated Fats too. Hence while buying something to eat, make sure you choose something that is low in Trans Fat ( however the new CSE study also reveals that KFC , Mc Donalds , Pizza hut , Haldiram , Lays, Maggi etc. lie about the content of Trans Fat etc. in their products).

Labels can say "0 grams of Trans Fat" even if partially hydrogenated fats are listed in the ingredients, as long as the serving size contains less than 0.5g of trans fats. Point is these less than one grams add up to your total consumption if u take more than one serving, considering the World Health Organization says an adult male can have 2.6g of trans fats a day, female 2.1g and a child 2.3g

Trans fats , like Saturated Fats are harmful , but in addition to it, also bring DOWN the levels of High Density Lipoprotein(HDL) that may be useful to us. Hence TRANS FATS ARE EVEN WORSE THAN SATURATED FATS.

Some Facts about Trans Fats: 
  1. New York City’s Board of Health voted unanimously in December 2006 to ban trans fats in all its 24,000 restaurants, from high-end eateries to fast-food joints, becoming the first city in the United States to impose such a ban.
  2. Starbucks joined the bandwagon and announced in January 2007 that it was eliminating trans fats from its stores in 10 metropolitan areas. 
So, focus on consuming Fats from Monounsaturated Fats and Polyunsaturated Fats. Avoid Saturated Fats and strictly avoid Trans Fats!!

Handy List of Fat sources :



  1. goood stuff there...but guess we all are more addicted to the BAD FATS...and less to GOOD ones...guess time to change our addiction!


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