Health researchers have argued that 70 per cent of your weight is dependent on your diet, and only the 30 per cent remaining is modulated by physical training or exercises. This implies, watching what you eat, or rather not eat, and is of absolute necessity.
Many believe that calorie intake from ‘fatty foods’ such as butter, ice creams, meats, oil etc. somehow directly accounts for fat deposit in your body. However, the truth is that the calories in fatty foods are no different than calories you intake in form of other foods, even if that particular item has a larger protein or vitamin content.
This essentially mean that “fat makes you fat” is false and misleading. Below are common myths about fats which will help you understand and plan your daily diet better.
You would be surprised to note that fat is as essential for your body, as vitamins, minerals and proteins are. For instance, saturated fat helps to form cell membranes all over your body and is necessary for a good immune function. It also provides energy to your body and is a basic building block for hormones. In fact, there are some extremely nutritious foods that have a high fat content. These include – egg yolks, fresh meat, dairy products etc.
Many of us are not aware of this, but there are actually several different types of fat. For instance, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are found in salmon, vegetable oils, and some nuts and seeds, are healthy for your heart and are also burned readily by the body. On the other hand, saturated fat and trans fat which are found in many dairy and poultry products are more easily stored as body fat.
Just like carbs, there are high-quality fats and low quality fats and they do not have the same effect on your body. In fact, health researchers and nutritionists have argued that you need adequate amounts of fat to support normal brain and body functions. These include – healthy growth of hair, skin, nails; cell signaling and body temperature regulation, hormone production and so on. Foods with good fats include salmon, walnuts and flax seeds, while those which you may want to avoid are butter, beef fats or any partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils.
There is no debating the fact that fat has more calories per gram than protein or carbs for instance. However, if you monitor your daily calorie intake, and account for the calories you intake from fat – there are no added weight gain repercussions that you stand to face. Hence, the important thing to note is that you need to see everything you are eating, including fat, in terms of calorie intake.
Now that you understand, that fat is of different types, it is important to also know that health problems associated with consuming high amounts of it vary depending on the type of fat intake, and the quantity in which it is consumed. In this regard, saturated fat which is found in food products like butter, cheese etc. lead to an increase in body cholesterol if taken in more than adequate quantity. On the other hand, poly-unsaturated fatty acids, which are found in sunflowers, walnuts, soybeans, pumpkin & sesame seeds, tuna and salmon – have shown to significantly decrease cholesterol levels.