Now-a-days too much emphasis is given to relation between fats and weight gain.Although fat has shared it own share of blame, we must not forget that it is an essential food group that the body requires for its daily functioning.
There are many functions in the human body supported by dietary fats. They help to maintain the health of our skin and hair. They lubricate the joints in our body. They aid in absorption of vitamins and their movement in our blood stream. They also help in transmission of nerve impulses.
Fats are also the source of essential fatty acids; such as linoleic, omega-3, omega-6, linolenic acid etc. Essential fatty acids are not made in our body and can only be obtained from external sources. These fatty acids support the functions of controlling inflammation, blood clotting, and brain development.
So, why do fats share so much blame and are considered as a major causer of bad health? This is because we often consume more fats than required. In addition, there are many types of fats. Although, all fats are combinations of saturated as well as unsaturated fatty acids.
Some of these combinations are more healthful than others. Hence, the challenge is to eat the ones that promote our health and limit intake of bad fats.
Hydrogenated fats contain trans fatty acids and should be strictly avoided. Hydrogenation is a process that gives fats and oils a longer shelf life. This enables manufacturers to use them easily in readymade foods such as cookies, biscuits, pies, rolls, croissants cakes, chips etc.
Trans-fats are also found in fried foods, margarines and shortenings. Therefore, skip the stick margarine and pick the tub margarine instead. Tub margarine is less hydrogenated.
Saturated fats in high quantities are harmful for our health, while unsaturated fats are essential for healthy living. So minimize use of butter, margarine and shortenings. Instead buy and use healthier vegetables oils (that are liquid at room temperature), and eat oily fish and nuts.
Limit your intake of fried foods, especially those purchased from roadside vendors. When purchasing any victuals, read the labels very carefully to ascertain the amount of fats they contain.
If you come across following names, such as – saturated fats, trans-fats, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated, then you are better off not purchasing these foods. There are some varieties of butter and margarine available in health food stores that contain no trans fats or cholesterol, go for these!