Fats: How Much in a Day?



Our body needs all the nutrients like fats, carbs, proteins and fibers but in right proportion. Fat is an important source of energy for your body and is also required by the body for the healthy development of hair, skin, and brain. However, consuming too much fat can result in obesity. Certain types of fat, if consumed in excess, increases your risk for heart disease and hence should be taken in moderation.

We at MEVOLIFE love to talk about weight loss and fat is one of the biggest contributors to make the weight loss journey successful. Now how much fat you need in a day depends on how many calories you consume in a day during your weight loss regime. So before you jump into this, know how much calories you require as per your body weight and height in order to lose weight. If you have a daily allowance of 1200 calories, then you need approximately 20-35% of it i.e. 330 calories and 1 gram of fat equals to 9 calories. And hence you can consume 36-40 grams of fats in order to lose weight out of which only 7% should come from saturated fats. You can also look into the below chart to have a detailed vision of the relation between calories and fat:

Fat is available in many forms – some are good, some are bad and some are worse. So what fats are you actually supposed to eat and what to avoid?

THE GOOD FAT

a) Monounsaturated Fats

Of all the fats, these get the most acceptance in medical and nutrition communities today. Monounsaturated fats are found in varying levels in oils like olive, sunflower, sesame, flax, peanut, safflower, etc. These oils are not entirely made of monounsaturated fats but also have some levels of saturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats, known as MUFAs, raise the good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL cholesterol. Along with this, they also protect against the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Not only this, studies have also shown that they help to prevent belly fat. Monounsaturated fat is mostly found in food items like

a) Olives and olive oil

b) Canola oil

c) Almonds

d) Cashews

e) Peanuts

f) Peanut butter

g) Sesame seeds

h) Avocados

b) Polyunsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fats are the must have fat and they are required for normal body functions but your body can’t make them. So you must get them from food. Polyunsaturated fats are used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves. Along with this, they are also essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation. A polyunsaturated fat usually has 2 bonds in its carbon chain. There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids and both types offer health benefits. You can easily find this type of fat in –

a) Fish

b) Flaxseed

c) Chia seeds

d) Walnuts

e) Canola oil

f) Tofu

g) Corn

h) Safflower oil

THE BAD FAT

Saturated Fats consists of triglycerides containing saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids don’t have a double bond between the individual carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. That is, the chain of carbon atoms is fully “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. These are usually those fats, which are available in the processed form. In addition, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. Some plant-based oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, also contain primarily saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol. Saturated Fats have had a bad impression in increasing your triglycerides levels and eventually harming your cardiac health. The trick is not to avoid eating them completely but you can have them in moderation that will help you not have any impact on your health. You can limit the intake of following food items:

a) Fatty beef

b) Lamb

c) Pork

d) Poultry with skin

e) Beef fat (tallow)

f) Lard and cream

g) Butter

h) Cheese and

i) Other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk.

THE WORSE FAT

Trans fats are made from oils through a food processing method called partial hydrogenation. By partially hydrogenating oils, they become easier to cook with and less likely to spoil than do naturally occurring oils. Research studies show that these partially hydrogenated trans fats can increase unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and hence should not be consumed at all. Also, if you are looking for weight loss then the trans fat play a very major role in being the road blocker. Numerous studies have linked trans fat to heart disease, infertility, cancer, type 2 diabetes, liver problems, and obesity. Trans fats raise bad LDL and lower good HDL, increasing inflammation throughout the body. Dr. Gerbstadt said that, “ They 100 percent promote heart disease”.

A weight-control study in animals found that even with the exact same number of calories and identical amounts of fat, animals fed trans fat gained four times more weight and 30% more belly fat. A Brandeis University study found that subjects who consumed products made with hydrogenated oil experienced a drop in their “good” HDL cholesterol a significant rise in blood sugar—about 20%, in just four weeks. Isn’t that dangerous? Well it surely is but you can try the below tips:

– Check the food label and see if there is any oil or hydrogenated oil/ partially hydrogenated oils mentioned in the label

– Try eating more vegetables & fruits

– Avoid deep fried foods

– Go easy with high fat dairy products

– Say big no to margarine, doughnuts, french fries, and processed foods such as crackers, cookies, chips, and cakes.

So be smart in you choices with fat but don’t avoid it completely for healthy life. Enjoy!

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