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NOT ALL FATS ARE BAD. DISMANTLING THE MYTH

by Baia Food on Jan 31, 2019

Fat, isn't it bad? Isn't it going to make me gain weight? Is it best to avoid it and not eat anything? Is its intake recommended?
This macronutrient is largely unknown in food and greatly demonized. Fat is an essential macronutrient for our health.

1 BUT IF I EAT A LOT OF FAT IT WILL RAISE MY CHOLESTEROL...

Much of the bad reputation of fats is due to the fact that their consumption is associated with increased cholesterol. But cholesterol is necessary! All your cell membranes have cholesterol.

We must differentiate between cholesterol and lipoproteins that are responsible for transporting it. LDL is responsible for transporting cholesterol to the cells and HDL is responsible for collecting the excess cholesterol and taking it to the liver.

Today we know that we must differentiate between LDL-C (amount of cholesterol carried by these lipoproteins) and LDL-P (number of these lipoproteins). The really bad thing is to increase the number of these particles, instead of them being larger and carrying more cholesterol.

Broadly speaking, when there are more LDL-P particles, it is more likely that they "could collide" and dump their contents in the arteries, forming plaque (which is why LDL has always been the bad guy...).

Eating cholesterol does not increase blood cholesterol in almost any person , but the consumption of refined flours and sugar does since they produce an increase in triglycerides, which are also transported within LDL-P particles and coincidentally in small particles.

It seems that everything is beginning to fall into place and we see how the Western diet has caused an increase in cardiovascular diseases.

Eating fat does not raise cholesterol

2 YOU SHOULD EAT LITTLE FAT BECAUSE IT IS HIGH IN CALORIES....

All foods provide energy. This energy is expressed in kilocalories (kcal). Specifically, fats are characterized by their higher caloric value, since 1 fat provides 9 kcal, compared to the 4 kcal of energy provided by proteins and carbohydrates. That is, all foods are potential energy sources, but foods rich in fat are more caloric than those made up of carbohydrates or proteins.

But be careful, this should not be the reason for not consuming them, reducing or eliminating their consumption in our diet. Without consuming fat we could not live or enjoy good health.

Why should we consume fats

  • They are structural and indispensable elements, since fats are part of cell membranes and hormones. Therefore, we need them for the structural maintenance and functioning of the entire body.
  • They are a source of energy.
  • They contain certain fatty acids that man cannot synthesize, that is, it is necessary to acquire them through fatty foods. These are linoleic acid (omega 6) and linolenic acid (omega 3), being essential nutrients since if a small amount of these essential fatty acids is not ingested, various disorders can occur, mainly affecting the nervous system.
  • They are those that transport fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and are also necessary for their absorption.
  • They participate in blood coagulation and blood pressure.
  • Fat is the palatable agent par excellence, which is why it contributes to the palatability of the diet and, therefore, to its acceptance and enjoyment of the food.

TYPES OF FATS

Fats are usually classified based on how many of their carbon atoms are bonded to hydrogen atoms.

1 SATURATED FATS

All of its carbon atoms are bonded to hydrogen atoms.

They are stable at room temperature and that is why they have been traditionally used for cooking.

They are abundant in sources of animal origin (meat, butter, dairy...) but also in some plant sources such as coconut .

If you still think that saturated fats are bad, we recommend reading our article about where this bad reputation comes from.

Of course origin matters; It is not the same to consume the fat of animals raised in the wild as that of those raised industrially, but here we leave you this meta-analysis , which concludes that there is no relationship between the consumption of saturated fats and cardiovascular diseases.

SATURATED FATS

2 MONOUNSATURATED FATS

Some of its carbon atoms are bonded to hydrogen atoms.

They are liquid at room temperature. We find them in large quantities in olive, avocado and almond oil.

3 POLYUNSATURATED FATS

They are liquid also at low temperatures. They are abundant in animal sources (blue fish (sardines, salmon, tuna...).

Also in vegetable sources (sunflower oil, soy, corn) but these should be limited as we will explain later.

Within this group, it is worth highlighting omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which we must consume regularly in our diet since we cannot synthesize them ourselves.

4 TRANS FATS OR HYDROGENATED FATS

They are created artificially by the hydrogenation of vegetable fats. They are present in industrial pastries and processed foods.

It is advisable to limit them to the maximum.

TRANS FAT

WHAT FATS ARE GOOD

The key is to know the origin of the fat we consume through food, since consuming an avocado, oily fish or nuts is not the same as consuming fat from processed foods loaded with trans and hydrogenated fats. The impact it generates on your health has nothing to do with it.

And why this? The key difference is how those fats behave in our bodies. That is, the fat obtained from foods does not generate a negative impact, such as pastries and processed foods, which are foods loaded with sugar and hydrogenated fat, which is what is stored, producing chronic diseases and those typical of metabolic syndrome.

Apart from trans fats, it is advisable to limit the consumption of vegetable oils (sunflower, soy, corn), since when cooking with them they oxidize very easily and are very high in omega 6, creating an omega 3/omega 6 ratio that is not beneficial for the organism and associated with many modern pathologies.

Make sure you consume enough omega 3, which is found, as we have said before, mainly in oily fish, but also in plant sources such as walnuts and chia seeds .

POLYUNSATURATED FATS

On the other hand, saturated fat has been greatly demonized, and we need it for various metabolic functions, although the body is capable of producing it, and if we take too much it self-regulates by producing less.

You must consume all types of fat (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat) prioritizing greater consumption of AGM and AGP. That is, do not stop consuming, but that the balance is more oriented towards the consumption of mono and polyunsaturated fat. What we must completely banish from our diet is hydrogenated vegetable fat, which is what is found in processed products such as pastries, sauces, and margarines. Therefore, it is important to read the labeling of the products to identify that they do not contain it. Later we will write a post on how to learn to read the labeling.

HOW MUCH FAT TO CONSUME

For a normal person, a good recommendation is that the amount of energy provided by fat does not exceed 30-35% of the total energy supplied by the diet. Preferably consuming monounsaturated fat (olive oil), and polyunsaturated fat (blue fish, walnuts, chia seeds...).

We need the fat.

The lack of fat (in the diet and body composition) produces a series of alterations, especially in women, which produces hormonal imbalances, infertility and amenorrhea. Its deficiency can also cause dry skin, hair loss, weak nails and peeling skin.

On the other hand, excess fat accumulated in our body can cause acne, obesity, circulatory and heart diseases (fluid retention, hypercholesterolemia, arteriosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, gout), diabetes, fatty liver, among other pathologies.

Consuming more fat in the diet is not harmful either and in fact the ketogenic diet (so popular today) has shown many benefits, especially in diseases related to cognitive impairment, cancer and schizophrenia...

DIET TO LOSE FAT

The fat you eat in your diet is one thing and the fat you accumulate in your body is another. The fat you consume does not accumulate in your body unless there is a caloric surplus, that is, you eat more calories than you expend.

If you want to lose body fat, you will need to consume fewer calories than you expend (despite being in a calorie deficit, make sure you consume the nutrients to maintain your health. It is best to consult with an up-to-date professional before going on a diet).

Diet to lose weight

This topic would be enough for several posts, but here we leave you some recommendations:

To optimize fat loss, several aspects must be combined

  • Healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, quality protein, whole grains, legumes, nuts and reducing the consumption of rich processed foods.
  • Doing strength exercise regularly, as this will help maintain muscle mass (toning is nothing more than losing fat and maintaining muscle) which continues to burn calories at rest and keeps your metabolism high.

Don't make the mistake of running or doing aerobic exercise for endless hours. You will burn fat, but also muscle and you will achieve a more flaccid than toned appearance.

Taking care of your diet and doing weight-bearing exercises along with a little moderate cardio is much more effective. In fact, more and more importance is given to NEAT (not exercise activity training), which is the energy expenditure we have in any activity that is not physical exercise.

If you want to burn more calories, increase your NEAT, most phones have an application to measure daily steps. Try to take no less than 8,000 steps a day as a starting point.

Your body composition will thank you.

We have tried to shed a little light on fats, if you have any questions or want to contribute something. We are waiting for you in the comments!

7 comments

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