Healthy fats: unsaturated vs. saturated fat


There are many different opinions about fat and whether or not it is “good or bad” is. Some say it makes you fat, others say it should make up the bulk of your diet – who’s right?

The answer is found between these two extremes. Height, target weight, and medical issues all affect the amount and type of fat a person should eat each day.

Why are fats important for the body?

Fats are our number 1 supplier of energy. They have the highest calorific value and contain around 9 calories per gram – that’s around twice as much as with protein or Carbohydrates (the other two Macronutrients next to fat).

But if we consume more energy in the form of fat than our body needs, it is stored in so-called fat reserves.

Even if we only think about fat reserves when we want to lose weight, they play an important role for our body.

Fat plays an important role in:

  • Protection and isolation of the organs
  • Absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K)
  • Hormone production
  • … and in many other important processes in our body

What are fatty acids and which fats are healthy?

Fats are made from fatty acids. The fats we eat can contain different types of fatty acids: saturated fat, unsaturated fat and trans fats.

# 1 Saturated fat

They mainly come in Animal products, like butter, cream and cheese. But also in some Vegetable fats, like palm or coconut oil.

saturated fat

Are Saturated Fats Healthy?

Saturated fats are also known as “unhealthy fats”. However, recent studies show that saturated fatty acids play an important role in this Keeping body healthy.(1, 2, 3) as well a layer of fat protects our organs, Membranes made of fat help with cell regulation and hormone production is also supported by fats.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should eat a piece of butter for breakfast in order to get enough saturated fat.

What Are Good Sources of Saturated Fat?

If you are neither vegetarian nor vegan, you are likely getting enough saturated fats from animal products. These include: eggs, milk, cheese, butter, ghee, chicken, beef, pork, salmon, etc.

There are enough alternatives for vegetarians and vegans: avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut, coconut oil, chia seeds and dark chocolate.

# 2 Unsaturated fat

Unsaturated fats come in mostly Vegetable oils, such as canola, olive, sunflower, peanut oil as well as avocados, nuts and fatty fish.

Are Unsaturated Fatty Acids Healthy?

Unsaturated fats bring most of the health benefits: They help Protecting your brain inhibits inflammation and injuries, keep your heart healthy, etc. You can think of them as protectors of your body – they keep negative influences away and support your health.

What is oleic acid?

Oleic acid, or oleic acid, is a type of fatty acid found in olive oil. It is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet and is used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.(4th)

unsaturated fatty acids

The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids

A distinction is made between omega-6 fatty acids (contained in sunflower, corn and soybean oil) and omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids protect your cardiovascular system by preventing coronary disease. They also have a positive effect on your cholesterol levels as they increase “good” cholesterol (HDL), which plays an important role in the development of our brain.

More and more people are consuming omega-6s and less omega-3, which can cause chronic inflammation. For most of us, this is a 17: 1 ratio (omega-6 to omega-3), but it should be closer to 5: 1.

Which foods contain omega-3 fatty acids?

There are many good ones Sources of omega-3 fats: fatty fish (salmon, tuna, herring, trout), avocados, oils (fish, olive, avocado, linseed oil), nuts (peka, cashew, walnuts, almonds) and seeds (flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds)

The best part is that you can easily incorporate these fats into your meals and they will provide you with enough energy for the whole day! Try a quarter of an avocado, a spoonful of oil, a few nuts or seeds, or just fatty fish as a source of protein.

# 3 trans fats

These fats come in, among other things processed and fried foods, Cakes and biscuits, margarine and frozen foods.

Are Trans Fats Healthy?

Artificial trans fats are used during a industrial process Hydrogen is added to the oil to solidify it. A high intake of these foods comes with one higher risk of death tied together.(5) This is because these fats lower good cholesterol, Increase bad cholesterol, causing inflammation.

In order to consume as few trans fats as possible, you should always read the nutritional information and look out for (partially) hydrogenated oils. Instead of buying french fries in a fast food restaurant, prepare a healthy variant at home!

Trans fats

Diet: How Much Fat A Day Is Recommended?

Fats should be roughly 30% of your calorie intake turn off.(6th) With different diets such as the Keto diet the value may differ, as a certain amount of fats, carbohydrates and protein is required here. In general, an adult needs around 60 to 80 grams of fat a day. If you eat high-fat food, you will have reached these values ​​quickly …

High fat foods:

  • 100 g avocado = 15 g fat
  • Handful of almonds (28 g) = 14 g fat
  • 3 pieces of very dark chocolate (30 g) = 14 g fat
  • 1 tbsp oil = 15 g fat

Fats and exercise

Just like protein and carbohydrates, fats play an important role in the nutrition of athletes. Athletes should be very careful about how much fat they are consuming. The American nutrition researcher Artemis Simopulos recommends 2 g of omega-3 fatty acids per day.(7th) They are found in fatty fish, but also in flax seeds and chia seeds. A large piece of salmon or a tablespoon of flaxseed oil will cover your daily requirement.

Cooking with fat: tips for everyday life

It is recommended 10 to 15 g (= 2 to 3 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon) of high quality vegetable or nut oil for cold dishes to use. In general, however, you should make sure that you cook with lower amounts of fat.

Which oils are suitable for sautéing, searing, …

  • Sautéing, searing, roasting / deep-frying: Avocado oil
  • Fry / cook hot: light olive oil, grapeseed oil, butter, ghee
  • Toast on medium heat: Coconut oil
  • Cold meals (oil, vinaigrette / dressing …): high quality walnut oil, linseed oil, virgin olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil

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