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Fats Fats Fats

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Fats. 

The word alone brings forth images of people’s waistlines overflowing their belts, deep-fried food, and diabetes.

But what is it exactly?

Find out with Spiritual Healing and Health’s guide to Fat!

What is Fat?

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Which of these foods have fat in them?

Fats is one of the three energy sources for your body that include protein and carbohydrates known as macronutrients. One gram of fat has 9 Kcal compared to 4kcal each gram for protein and carbs. Integral to our mental and physical functioning, allowing our bodies absorbing vitamins that our body cannot do on its own, maintaining healthy weight and cholesterol level, and prevent certain chronic diseases.

You would think that with these benefits fats would have a more positive connotation than what it has now.

Some more beneficial effects of fats including shielding the connections of nerves, building cell membrane, maintaining optimal body temperature, and cushioning our internal organs.

One possible cause of the confusion surrounding fat and their dubious benefits is the fact that all foods contain varying levels of different types of fat

On the chemical level fats are long chains of hydrocarbons consisting of hydrogen and carbon; the different combinations of hydrogen and carbon are what make the different types of fats.

Different types of fats? 

If you’re confused as to the existence of there being more than one ‘fats’ then keep on reading to find out!a

The Different Types of Fats

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Different types of fats affect your health differently so it helps to know what to look for on the nutrition labels of food you are buying as well as what they do.

Trans-Fat

The worst kind of fat. A by-product of the food processing method of hydrogenation (or partial hydrogenation) it allows fat to be stored on the shelf for longer. Artificial trans-fats is found in manufactured and processed foods such as commercially produced pastries, pizza dough, packaged snacks, fried and fast foods, vegetable shortening, and stick margarine. Not to be confused and feared with its absolutely evil brother natural trans-fat is found in small amounts in meat and dairy products.

Trans-fats are to be avoided as much as possible as they have no positive health benefits, raise the amount of ‘bad’ cholesterol and lowering the amount of ‘good’ cholesterol in the blood, increase the likelihood of you getting inflammation connected to heart disease, stroke, insulin resistance, and increasing the risk of you getting type 2 diabetes.

 

Saturated-Fat

While not as bad as trans-fats saturated fat is not that much better. Solid at room temperature a good example would be bacon grease that has solidified. Found in most animal products that include fish, meat, milk, and cheese. Tropical oils that include coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter also contain saturated fat. Other sources of saturated fat include most fast and processed foods, and that coffee creamer you use on a daily basis

Capable of raising bad and good cholesterol levels in the blood, increasing your chances of getting heart disease, slowly clogging up your arteries, raising blood pressure, and weight gain. Just like trans-fats try to avoid them as much as possible and replace them with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

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Unsaturated Fats – Polyunsaturated & Monosaturated

Unsaturated fat comes in two types: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Called unsaturated as they do not have hydrogen unlike saturated and trans-fats; this results in them being liquid at room temperature. One type of polyunsaturated fat known as ‘omega-6’ can be found in vegetable foods, oils, and sources that include pumpkin seeds, safflower, olives, corn, olive oils and spreads, soy oil, sunflower, tofu, canola oil and spreads, avocados, and nuts.

The other type known as ‘omega-3’ are found in meat, seafood, and vegetable sources that include salmon, herring, anchovies, trout, tuna, and other small seafood. While larger seafood like tile-fish and sailfish do have omega-3 they have higher concentrations of the pollutant mercury, which is why smaller seafood is recommended over larger seafood. For those that do not consume fish supplements are available that serve the same purpose.

The benefits of unsaturated fat include developing and supporting mental functions, lowering heart disease and diabetes risk, reducing blood pressure, protecting heart health, and raising levels of good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol levels in the blood, and assisting bodily functions.

How Much Fat Should I Have?

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Having a variety of organic vegetable and meat along with vegetable-based spreads and oils plus nuts may be the way forward for those who are getting bamboozled over what to eat.

A very good guide to those struggling to figure out portion sizes of the different food groups that contain good fats (unsaturated) is the Mediterranean diet. You might be wondering as to why as most foods appear to contain high levels of fat. In reality the majority of fat they consume (if not the entirety) are healthy fats. Olive oil contains monounsaturated oil as well as the fatty fish, nuts, and olives that are full of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, regular vegetables and fruits instead of highly-processed snacks, herbs and spices instead of pre-made sauces, salt, and seasoning.

What’s also added into the healthy mix is a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, eating with friends and family, and a glass of red wine with every meal.

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Sources

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