Monday 31 January 2022

Which fatty acids are considered ‘bad’ for health

Figuring the types of fat to consume may be confusing especially if you are trying to lower your dietary fat intake. Trans fatty acids and to a lesser extent saturated fatty acids (mainly from animal products such as meat and dairy) are positively associated with coronary heart disease, hypertension and insulin resistance. Dairy fats and meat naturally contain trans fatty acids; however, the majority of dietary trans fatty acids are derived from partially hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenation (a process used to manufacture margarine) converts Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) to more saturated fat.

Trans fat: they are made when liquid oils are turned into solid fats e.g., margarine and shortening. It is the worst kind of dietary fat for the health. Too much trans fats increases the risk of heart disease and other health problems. It can be found in many fried fast packaged or processed foods e.g., cakes, French fries, pies, pie crust, doughnuts, cake mixes etc. Animal foods such as meat and dairy have negligible amounts of trans fats. Most trans fats are found from processed foods.

Health implication of trans fats

  • It lowers the good cholesterol (HDL) and raises the bad (LDL) cholesterol, this can cause cholesterol to build up in the blood vessels thus, increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • It causes weight gain and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes

Saturated fats: they are fats that are solid at room temperature. When consumed, they can raise the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood which can lead to blockages in the heart and other parts of the body. It also increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke. Foods high in saturated fats include: coconut oil, palm oil, red meat, fat full-dairy products, butter, chicken with the skin, pork, coconut milk, etc.

Consuming enough unsaturated fats such as plant oils, avocado and fish is the ideal approach to a healthful diet in the long-term.







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