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Sunday, June 28, 2009

When Fat is good??

You read that correctly. Certain fats are good for you and as important as other food groups for your body,


Agreed, it’s great to be thin. But when the ‘veins’ on your hands pop up and your face loses its glow, being thin doesn’t seem so great. On the contrary, the gaunt look just indicates that your body is craving for fat — yes, the same thing you avoided like plague for a sub-zero figure.

Unless you are obese, you shouldn’t deprive your body of all fats. The key is to use up your body fat, and as you approach your ideal weight — when you are within 10 to 15 kg of it — start eating regimented amounts. If you skip the butter and the ghee, don’t be surprised if you experience joint paints, lower back-ache and even problems of vision.
Why fat is important

Fat is needed for the normal growth and development. Primarily because it:

• Provides long-lasting energy

• Helps you feel full after eating

• Helps in making hormones

• Forms a part of the brain

• Forms cell membranes for every cell in the body

• Carries vitamins through the body

• Helps regulate body temperature

• Cushions your joints and helps them move smoothly.

It also provides you with two essential fatty acids — linoleic and linolenic — that your body cannot make by itself. These strengthen the immune system, protect the auto-immune system and form a protective shell over your organs.
The good fats

Saturated fats

Saturated fatty acids or saturated fats have all the hydrogen the carbon atoms can hold. These are usually solid at room temperature, and they’re more stable; they don’t combine readily with oxygen. However, they are the main dietary factors, along with transfats in raising blood cholesterol.

Sources: Home-made ghee, table butter, white butter, coconut oil, cheddar cheese and meat.
Unsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids are found in liquid oils of vegetable origin. Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator. They help your body get rid of newly formed cholesterol, thus keeping blood cholesterol level down and reducing cholesterol deposits on artery walls.

Sources: Safflower, sesame, soy, corn and sunflower seed and nuts such as pista, almonds, cashewnuts,
walnuts.

Monounsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature but solidify in the refrigerator. These may also help reduce blood cholesterol as long as the diet is very low in saturated fat.

Sources: Olive, canola and peanut oils and avocados.

Omega 3 fatty acids are also a part of unsaturated fats. They reduce blood pressure and stimulate blood circulation. It will also give you glossy hair and rid you of varicose veins.

Sources: Salmon, mackerel, walnuts and flax seeds.

Consume in moderation

Since fats contain more than twice the calories of protein and carbohydrate, they should be eaten in moderation. About 30 per cent of the energy we eat should come from fat. Balance your meals with carbohydrates, proteins and fat. The ratio should be 1:1:1 — about 10 gm of saturates to 10 gm of mono-saturates to 10 gm of poly-saturates. So a person maintaining his or her ideal weight can have 10 gm of ghee, 10 gm of olive oil and 10 gm of sunflower oil in a day.

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