Nutrition Basics - Dietary Fat


  Dietary Fat

Fat is major source of energy. One gram of fat provides 9 kcals. It is recommended that 15 – 3-0% of total daily calories be derived from fats. The upper limit of fat should not exceed 30% of total calories. The visible fat intake should be 15 – 25gms/day. It plays a major role in your cholesterol levels. It serves number of functions in the body. Fat in the diet is important to absorb fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A present in the food. Fat also provides fatty acids important for structure and function of cells. It also helps to use proteins and carbohydrates more efficiently in the body. Fats are a vital part of the membrane surrounds each cell of body. Kidneys, Heart and intestines are cushioned by fat that helps and protects from injury. Fat in the diet can be of two types visible fat and invisible fat. Fat provide palatability to food.

Visible fat:  The fats derived from animals and plants like butter, ghee, mustard, safflower, sunflower, groundnut etc. are visible fats.

Invisible fats: The fat present in food items like cereals, pulses, milk, eggs, meat etc. are called invisible fats.

Different types of fats are saturated and unsaturated fats:

Saturated fats: Saturated fats are mostly found in animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy and sea foods. Plant sources like palm oil and coconut oil also contain high amount of saturated fats. These saturated fats increase LDL bad cholesterol. Daily recommended intake of saturated fats should be below 10% of total calorie intake. When we consume enough of good fats our body can produce saturated fats we need.

Unsaturated fats: These fats increase HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol. Unsaturated fatty acids include both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Polyunsaturated fats: Polyunsaturated fats should not exceed 10 percent of total calorie intake. Examples of these fats include sunflower oil, soy bean oil, safflower oil, flax seed oil , walnuts and fish oil. Polyunsaturated fat includes both omega 3 and omega 6.Omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fats are not synthesized by body , but we can get through some of the foods. Omega 3 fatty acids produce a metabolite DHA which reduces symptoms of depression. Omega 3 fatty acids improve oxygenation. Omega 6 fatty acids are proinflammatory.

Monounsaturated fats: The recommended intake of monounsaturated fats should be around 10 to 15 percent of total calorie intake. Monosaturated fats include olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil and canola oil.

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