Good Fats vs Bad Fats ( Saturated fats & Unsaturated Fats ) : Eat Fat to be Fit! Doesn’t it sound Crazy?
It can be the most destructive advice one can give you but let me get into the reality for you all, my dear friends, This is the Truth!
Eating fats will never lead you towards obesity or diseases which unfortunately you assume since ages.
As I have told you in my previous article, “Carbohydrate: The Slow Sweet Poison”, black coffee consumption cannot make you black and milk will not turn you into fairer person.
Similarly using fats as a dietary source cannot turn you into fatty person because the association and causation are different. For instance, if you have heard about “Big Fat Weddings” it actually refers to the rich and expensive weddings involving heavy expenditures.
Saturated Fats & Unsaturated Fats (Good Fats vs Bad Fats):
It doesn’t have to do anything with the fatty crowd present at the time of wedding or the bride and the groom. Fat means richness whether its people, energy source in food, culture or festivals. Fat sources were and are all times rich man’s product.
Fats are lipids and consists of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms. To a common man’s knowledge, the “Unsaturated fats” are Good fats and the “Saturated fats” are Bad fats but I am glad to say that this is not the real scenario. Let’s discuss why is it so and gets into the dietary sources for each one of them. You will get a better understanding of good fats vs bad fats.
Saturated fats are those fats which are solid and stable at room temperature and completely filled with hydrogen atoms hence providing it a stable structure.
Cooking Oils- Saturated Fats
Therefore, you must prefer them in cooking and as a dietary source naturally present in food. So, you can cook your food using coconut oil, ghee, yellow butter, white butter and palm oil and many other animal fat sources.
As far as foods with naturally available saturated fats are concerned, you have options of eggs, chicken, meat, bacon etc.
The best part is that due to saturated fat’s stable property, it doesn’t turn into carcinogenic product which is the synonym for cancer.
As saturated fats have tightly packed hydrogen atoms leaving no empty space giving them a straight structure without any kink hence, they are stable upon heating and non-carcinogenic.
Lets Understand Unsaturated Fats:
Now I will be focusing on the most popularly “supposed” healthy fats that is unsaturated fats which are liquid at room temperature and not so stable as compared to saturated fats. Moreover, these fats have empty spaces void of hydrogen atoms which make them unstable upon cooking.
Let’s understand this with an example. Suppose there is a bridge using which you have to cross a valley and that bridge has support of ropes from either side but you find that some ropes are in bad condition making it dangerous to walk on it. You cannot balance yourself on it.
Same thing happens with the unsaturated fatty structure. Because of the absence of hydrogen atoms on one side of the structure, it becomes kinky that is there is a bend in the structure making it unstable and when heated, this structure breaks down and sometimes turns into carcinogenic molecules.
Therefore, you should avoid these unsaturated fatty acids or if you want to add them in diet, you should follow some protocols. Like you can use them for dressing purpose means raw and not for cooking. Some you can utilize as supplements so that it gives benefits instead of harming your body.
Let’s go through the different categories under unsaturated fatty acids and also learn the eating etiquettes of these categorised unsaturated fatty acids. You will know yourself whether the term good fats vs bad fats exists or not. And the meaning of Saturated Fats & Unsaturated Fats will be clear.
1. Omega-9: It is also called as Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid (M.U.F.A). It has another name “Oleic Acid”. It is a non-essential fatty acid means body can synthesise it.
Omega-9 is called M.U.F.A because it has Mono means only 1 double bond in its structure making it more stable than other unsaturated fatty acids i.e. Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Omega 3 and 6
2. Omega 3 and 6. The protocol I spoke about will now apply here. You should not eat this class of Unsaturated fatty acid and must eat raw. Due to budget constraint if you cannot use Saturated fats for cooking then Omega-9 is the next available option.
They are the second most stable oils present in nature and you must not cook them on to a Smokey level or high flame. Examples of Omega-9 are: Olive oil (it should be preferred for dressing), Mustard oil (For pickles), Rice Bran oil (Dressing &Soups), walnuts, avocado, peanuts and many more.
- Omega-6 : Its another name is Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (P.U.F.A.). It has another name “Linoleic Acid”.
- We call it P.U.F.A because it has more than one double bond present in its structure making it unstable for cooking among the other unsaturated fatty acids. Pufa stands for many.
- You should never consume in more quantity as they promote inflammation, blood vessels constriction and also increase blood clotting factors in body upon exceeding the recommended limit.
- Examples of Omega-6 are Soyabean oil, Sunflower oil, Safflower oil, Corn oil, hemp seeds, tofu, cereals etc.
Essential Fatty Acids
But after so many ifs and buts, your body needs omega-6 and 3 as your body cannot synthesize them on its own hence you need to provide it from external source which is your diet but in a strict ratio, on this account they have another name “Essential Fatty Acids”.
You must be thinking that I haven’t mentioned many vegetables and animal food sources including eggs for omega-3, 6 &9, Remember I will always be focusing on the food sources as per the quantum of the nutrient present in it.
This means that if the quantity of a particular saturated and unsaturated fatty acid is less or negligible in a food source then I will not consider that food source under the respective categories of fatty acids.
For Example: Ghee has approximately 70% of saturated fatty acid and 30% unsaturated fatty acid but just because of high saturated fatty acid content, it falls under the category of saturated fatty acids despite of having unsaturated ones.
Another example is the 100 gram of Coconut oil in which saturated fatty acid accounts for 91 gm, omega-9 (M.U.F.A. or Oleic Acid) is 6 gram and Omega 3 and 6 (P.U.F.A.) are 0.2 gram. That’s why it comes under saturated fatty acid.
Let’s discuss the interesting facts of fats one by one to get into good fats vs bad fats , Saturated Fats & Unsaturated Fats: –
1. Trillions of cells make our body and the cell is the most important structural and functional unit of life. You can perform day to day activities just because your cells are functioning in a very beautiful and organized manner to support your life.
Your cell does many functions like synthesis of proteins, fats, energy and antibodies production, encompassing the crucial genetic information in the form of “DNA” (Deoxyribonucleic Acid).
This cell also consists of an outer double layered protective semi-permeable membrane which protects all the parts of cells called organelles by permitting required and essential substances to enter or exit the cell performing the above-mentioned functions to keep us alive.
Just imagine what constitutes this double layered protective membrane? The correct answer is: 47-48% of Fats, 50 % of Proteins and 1 to 3% of Glucose.
2. You naturally have fats and proteins in your cell structure in majority. And negligible amount of glucose. Then don’t you think you should keep fats more in your diet instead of carbohydrates for energy.
But this decision is completely on your wisdom. What you choose to ingest and what you want to be, it is totally your call. Because there is a saying, “You Are What You Eat”. And you cannot fix your health until you fix your diet.
3. The Vitamins which are very essential for human’s life are divided into water soluble vitamins i.e., Vitamin B & C and Fat-Soluble Vitamins i.e., Vitamin A, D, E & K. Each and everything in this world run on energy. And so is the human body. But all the credit of providing energy goes to the macro nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates).
Without the help of these vitamins our body is not capable of extracting energy from the above macro nutrients. But the fate of the fat-soluble vitamins i.e., Vitamin A, D, E & K lies in the hands of fats. It means that the optimal functioning of these vitamins will happen when there is sufficient fat in your diet. Because these vitamins are present in food sources rich in fats.
Just a glimpse, Vitamin-A is important for your Vision. Vitamin-D is responsible for strong teeth and bones. Vitamin-E is needed for good skin and to maintain the life span of RBC.
Vitamin-k plays a vital role in making Blood Clotting Factors. Not only these but they have various other functions which I will discuss in my future articles.
4. It is high time that a common man should realize the truth about the cholesterol. That it is not the main cause for various Cardiovascular Diseases, Atherosclerosis and others. Cholesterol is a type of fat which your liver and small intestine make in your body. This is to perform various vital functions.
If I write in brief, cholesterol is responsible for the production of the bile juice in liver. And this bile helps in the digestion. By emulsifying the big Triglyceride (TG) molecule into smaller fragments for digestion to start. Did you notice, many times Doctors advise patients facing Cholesterol issues to cut down the uptake of food sources responsible for it.
5. If you are a vegetarian you will be glad to know that plant-based food sources do not contain cholesterol. It is due to absence of liver and intestines in their structure. People dependent on animal food sources, they get about 3% of cholesterol from it. So, it is pretty much clear! The cholesterol fluctuations are not dependent on cholesterol from dietary food sources.
6. Whether it is Vitamin -D synthesis in our body or sex and stress hormones production, these crucial functions are dependent on Fats and Cholesterol.
Importance of Cholesterol
The cholesterol is a crucial part of our cell-membrane on which the cell permeability depends. This means it enables the capacity of a cell. i.e. to allow required and important substances to enter and exit the cell as per its need. As per the functions which category should cholesterol fall in , when it comes to good fats vs bad fats?
If you own a good memory, say thanks to fats but if you do not then you need fat. Let’s get into the details of this statement. Your nerves are responsible for the transmission of electrical impulses. Because of which due you are able to act and memorize stuffs.
Lets Understand Neuron
Neuron is the smallest structural and functional unit of your nervous system. And this neuron consists of a myelin sheath. Like an insulating layer present in the brain or spinal cord. Now you see this myelin sheath contains protein and fatty substances. They allow electrical messages to transmit quickly and efficiently along the nerve cells. Hope you understand the concept. That what all can happen with your body systems at cellular level if you are fat deficient.
I would like to make one thing very clear. through this article I have tried to throw some light on fats. but that doesn’t mean that you get happy by eating incorrect food combinations. eg. Bread with Butter, Chicken biryani, Butter chicken with Naan etc.
Such combinations are lethal to our body and fats should never be combined with carbohydrates. It’s not the butter which is troubling you but it’s the bread which is the main culprit. Yes, chicken, meat, eggs are great sources of fats but rice and naan are not. Remember bread, rice, naan all these are great sources of carbohydrates. When talking about Good Fats vs Bad Fats, such dietary combinations make every kind of fat bad.
So, let’s stop getting scared by the term “Fats” which will never make you fat. it is still the carbohydrates leading to fat gain and you only need to focus on your diet when on fat loss. Fats and protein consumption do not increase your blood sugar level/blood glucose level. But when you ingest carbohydrate/dietary glucose it has direct impact on your blood glucose level as it gets high.
More Facts on (Good Fats vs Bad Fats) Saturated Fats & Unsaturated Fats:
Let’s see the relationship between the blood sugar and hormonal environment in your body. Imagine you had a delicious, mouth-watering pancake with caramel. Now this mind-boggling food will lead to sudden rise in blood sugar level. It eventually will force the beta cell of pancreas to release a substantial amount of insulin.
Now this insulin may or may not be potent enough to manage that amount of dietary glucose. It is not able to manage the bolus amount of glucose known as insulin sensitive state of your body cells. So body will utilize maximum amount of glucose without creating any hormonal disbalance or mess.
Don’t Be Happy!
But don’t be happy! Beta cells of pancreas, insulin or the receptors have a threshold for sugar which is unpredictable. You never know when your body gives up because of the continuous elevated sugar levels in your blood.
Once your body cells get resistant to insulin, it will show resistance toward insulin. for example liver or muscle cells. the cells will not accept dietary glucose upon insulin signaling.
This may occur due to the damage to the insulin receptors or the glucose transporters over and inside the cell. Now resultant glucose will not be able to enter the muscle cells hence it will go to the liver. The required amount of glucose becomes ATP by the action of insulin and as glycogen in liver.
Rest unused glucose will be converted into Triglycerides (TGs) through an enzyme activated by insulin which further sends TG to the fat cell for storage hence making you fat.
Fat cell also has insulin receptors which allows glucose to enter it. And in this whole mechanism you can observe the absence of role of fat in fat gain that is Lipogenesis. Your cells might be resistant to Insulin signaling meaning Insulin becomes inefficient in performing its function.
What if you are eating carbohydrates with fats? It is a lethal combination because carbohydrates will be broken down into glucose resulting in high insulin levels. So, the muscle and fat cells might not permit glucose to enter it due to insulin receptors resistance over cells.
More About TG Molecule
When you speak of fat digestion and absorption, you tend to consume TG molecule made up of 1 glycerol attached to 3 fatty acids molecules. Now this TG molecule will go to liver with the help of a protein transporter known as chylomicron.
On its way to the liver, some amount of TGs breaks down by an enzyme into its basic structure. That is 1 glycerol attached to 3 fatty acids. Now the muscle cells gets the delivery of fatty acids to make ATP’S. Some goes to fat cell for same purpose. But the glycerol molecule will have only 1 place to go which is liver.
As muscle cell or fat cell cannot make glycerol. This glycerol gets converted into TG molecule inside the liver. But there is no requirement of glucose neither for storage nor for ATP. So it will further be sent to fat cell. This is the reason for swelling of fat cells resulting in Lipogenesis.
To conclude, the above given examples are some of the functions of cholesterol. And always get into the logical reasoning about cholesterol before making any kind of conclusion. Keep reading my articles as I will be taking you on the roller coaster ride.
I will burst the myths related to cholesterol. There will be a dramatic change in your thought process. And it will compel you to make a different opinion about fats and nutritional facts.
Lets End This Here!
At the end I just want to conclude that it is the mindset of people which is incorrect. Because all other mediums such as newspaper and advertisements give us such impression. And our loved ones train us with the same mentality since childhood.
Such medium focuses on fat as the most dangerous thing which can ever happen to your body. But if you dive in deep sea of nutritional analysis, you will find everything completely opposite.
Earlier there were many countries who had set a limit on the consumption of trans fats which is a poisonous substance. And very different from the healthy Fat I have spoken about.
Over the period of time and awareness, many countries have banned the usage of Trans fat and reduced its consumption to 0%.
I hope that one day the myths regarding Good Fats vs Bad Fats, Saturated Fats & Unsaturated Fats will definitely get vanished and we will not only survive but thrive the way we were meant to be.