Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, stroke and infertility – these are just a few of the fastest rising health concerns in the world. The primary reason being the extra fat that your body carries. When the fat deposits increase in the body due to the lack of exercise, healthy diet or poor lifestyle, you stand the risk of the above mentioned diseases. Let’s see, how are fats harmful for body?
Is Fat Always Bad?
No, not all! Our body needs essential fats to function. But, to know which fats are good and bad for you, let’s understand the types of fats.
Unsaturated Fats (Good Fat)
These are the healthy fats that protect your body. These can be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. The fats that are found in nuts, olive oil and sunflower oil are monounsaturated and act as sugar controllers. Polyunsaturated fats like Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (PUFA) are heart protective, prevent diabetes and are essential for brain development too, fish oil being the richest dietary source.
Saturated Fats (Bad Fat)
This is actually the body’s biggest enemy as it increases the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the risk of heart diseases. You can find this bad fat in animal meat like beef, pork, lamb, and other animal products like cream, cheese and ice cream.
Trans Fat (Very Bad Fat)
Your body hates this kind of fat as it increases levels of LDL and also reduces HDL (good cholesterol). The overall negative impact is reflected in the latest studies that point to the harmful effects like insulin resistance, coronary artery disease leading to heart ailments and atherosclerosis (hardening) of the major arteries leading to their clogging. Trans fat is present in almost all kinds of ‘easy-to-use’ processed and fried foods.
Advantages of Fat
A certain amount of fat is required in the body for normal functions. The fat from our food is absorbed and broken down into fatty acids and glycerol. The glycerol is converted to glucose (energy) by liver, whereas the fatty acids give energy to major muscles. Besides, the body also needs fat to:
- Keep hair and skin healthy
- Absorb fat soluble vitamins like K, E and A
- Control and maintain the body temperature
- Act as a shock absorber for bones
Disadvantages of Excess Fat
- Increased risk of osteoporosis leading to weak bones
- Insulin resistance due to fatty liver
- Increase in inflammation rate
- Weight gain due to hormonal imbalance
Recommended Proportions of Fat
Now that you know the advantages and how are fats harmful for body, how do you know how much is the right amount? Well, here is what the medical experts say.
- A man’s body may contain fat, which is 14-17% of total body weight, whereas for a woman it can be 21-24%. These measurements can be done by various methods like using Skin Callipers, Home Body Fat Scales and Hydrostatic Weighing.
- For a 2000 calorie diet, 45-75 grams of fat are permitted, and better to stick to unsaturated fats. A maximum of 300 mg of cholesterol is allowed.
- Combine the above with regular exercise for best results.
Fat Loss and Weight Loss – Are They Same?
No. Even if it seems that from the outward appearance that a person has lost weight, s/he may still have a high fat percentage in the body. Or, even if a person looks lean, s/he may still be ‘fatty’ from inside. Now that you know how are fats harmful for body choose your weight loss diet wisely.
Instead of trying to lose weight, the focus should be on losing fat. These days, due to advancement in technology, it has become quite easy to measure the fat percentage in your body. So, when you enroll in a weight loss program, do bear this fact in mind.