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Afraid of fat? Think twice!

Many people are afraid to eat fat when losing weight, which is wrong. Fat is one of the important nutrients for the human body. Fats are divided into good fats and bad fats. This is just like we have junk food and healthy snack. We will only choose what is good for us right? So let’s dive deeper.

What is good fats?

Good fats comprise monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which can help increase cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health. According to the research in Seven Countries Studies (1956 – 1978), Ancel Keys who was a physiologist studied the influence of diet on health showed that having good fats, we can improve in cholesterol level, enhance immunity and reduce cell inflammation too. “Good” fats like fish oil, olive oil, deep-sea fish, nuts, flaxseeds and avocados are encouraged to have in our daily life. It is easy to find in supermarket and apply in our daily meal. Let’s become a smart consumer to choose food that is really good for us.

Having "good fats" help us prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. However, "good" fats are high in calories too, and might raises in triglycerides if we don’t control on the right quantities intake. Triglyceride is a fat in your blood which could increase your risk of liver and pancreas problem too (2013 study, National Institutes of Health). Whenever you eat more calories than your body needs, your body turns those calories into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells. So how much fat is the right amount of fat?

The best advice is to stick to the recommended daily intakes which are fats should make up 20-35% of our total daily calorie intake. This is about 44g to 77g of fat per day if you eat 2000 calories per day.

5 pros of having good fats

  • Lower cholesterol level
  • Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Increase or maintain good HDL
  • Good for absorption of vitamins such as A, D, E, and K
  • Help in losing weight

Understanding "Bad" Fats

Bad fats are saturated fats and general fats. Eating too much will increase cholesterol which causes cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and so on. For example, limit your consuming for margarine, animal fats, junk food, cakes, cookies and creams, etc.

"Bad" fats are harmful to the heart and vascular system because they increase the body's production of cholesterol. It can also cause blood clots or atherosclerosis. The Seven Countries Studies was conceived by Ancel Keys shown that if our blood is concentrated and the blood flow to our heart is blocked, it can cause a myocardial infarction; if blood flow to the brain is blocked, it can cause a stroke. Risk of getting coronary heart disease might be higher, be sure to eat less saturated fat, hydrogenated fat, and especially trans-fat. 

Foods high in trans-fats include most artificial and processed foods. Their manufactured form of trans-fat is also known as partially hydrogenated oil. This may be found in many foods:

  • Baked foods, such as cakes, cookies and pies 
  • Frozen pizza
  • Fried foods including French fried, fries chicken, nuggets
  • Stick margarine
  • Refrigerated dough and pancakes
  • Snacks like chips, biscuits and pudding

5 cons taking too much of bad fats:

  • Raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Lower your HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Increase risk for heart disease and stroke
  • Weight gain
  • Increase diabetes risk

Be careful of the amount even "Good" fats!

“Good” fat contains cholesterol and calories too. If you want to lose weight or take control of your heath, taking too much good fats will also increase calories. It might raise your blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of coronary heart disease based on the research in the Seven Countries Studies.

So in our daily diet, it’s more important to focus on eating beneficial “good” fats and avoiding harmful “bad” fats. Fat is an important part of a healthy diet. Choose foods with good unsaturated fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid “bad trans-fat. Always remember to choose and pick your food wisely.

It’s generally assumed that fat is main cause of heart disease, which is not true at all. More and more research have proven that heart disease is caused by synthetic fat that we get from rice, noodles sugars, which is also the culprit for obesity and diabetes as well.

We will talk more about myths and facts of fats on next episode. See you there.

This article was written by Green Wellness Malaysia's Marketing Officer, Apple Ho. Your thoughts, feedback and comments are most welcome. Please feel free to email blog@greenwellness.my

DISCLAIMER: Content from this article is not a substitute for professional medical and healthcare advice, diagnosis, treatment, dietary, or safety advice, and may not be used for such purposes. Always seek the advice of your doctor, physician or other qualified expert with any questions you may have regarding a medical question, condition, or safety concern. Reliance on information presented on this article is at your own risk.

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