Fats provide more than twice as much energy as carbohydrates. With the right fat ratio, you can maintain blood vessel health and prevent lifestyle diseases.
Fats- What Are They?
Fats, also called lipids or cellulite, are one of one of the three vital nutrients, along with protein and carbohydrates. They are very heterogeneous group of substances, but they are all insoluble in water.
In addition to fatty acids, fats also include fat-soluble substances such as cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins A,D, E and K. With an energy content of approx. 9.3 calories per gram, fats provide more than double the energy of carbohydrates and proteins. They also have the highest energy density, which makes them important energy suppliers. In contrast to carbohydrates and proteins, fats can be stored very compactly and without absorbing too much water as an energy source in fatty tissue.
Fat Layer Protects Organs
Our body stores fats in the abdominal cavity and as subcutaneous fat tissue in the form of depot fat. This fat thus insulates against cold and heat. Fat also protects important internal organs such as the eyeball or kidneys from harm.
Fats are also the building blocks of cell membranes, especially in the brain and nerve tissues. They are the source material for the production of various neurotransmitters in our bodies. Fats are carriers of the fat-soluble vitamins, and help us absorb food in the small intestine.
In addition, fats are also carriers of so-called essential fatty acids. We can’t form these ourselves, but have to ingest them with our food.
Good Olive Oil Is the Most Filling
Fats have a high satiation value- they keep us fuller longer than other things since they spend more time in our stomachs than other nutrients. German scientists have discovered out that high-quality olive oil has the greatest satiation effect. In addition, fats serve as flavor carriers and strongly influence the sense of taste. Foods such as low-fat meat are generally described as dry, straw-like and bland, while we perceive high-fat meat as juicy.
Recommendations for Fat Consumption
Until recently, nutritionists recommended that approximately 30 percent of daily energy should come from fat consumption. Recent reports such as the PURE study suggest that higher fat consumption with a concurrent reduction of carbohydrates is beneficial to health and can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Critics of the low-fat diet have long pointed out that it has never been clearly proven that a high-fat diet leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. For human health, not only is the amount of fat is important, but also the quality of the fats consumed, which very much depends on the absorption of certain fatty acids.
Fat from Animal Meat: What to Look For
Even though fat sources from high quality grass-fed organic meats can have a lot of important vitamins and minerals, be wary of more conventionally grown meat. Animal feed has a significant influence on the fatty acid pattern in a food.
For example, beef or milk from pasture-fed cattle (i.e., cattle fed almost exclusively from grass and hay) contains significantly more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. It also has fewer inflammation-promoting omega-6 fatty acids than beef and milk from conventionally raised cattle, in which the animals are mainly fed with processed feed.
Balanced Fat Ratio is Crucial for Health
A balanced diet of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids helps to prevent arteriosclerotic diseases, like strokes or aneurysms. The so-called one-third rule states that the supply of fat from each should be
- approx. 1/3 saturated fatty acids (e.g., in milk, butter, cream, cheese, coconut oil),
- approx. 1/3 monounsaturated fatty acids (e.g., in olive oil, avocado)
- approx. 1/3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g., in fatty sea fish, linseed oil, canola oil, walnuts).
We should ideally consume fewer animal fats and increase the proportion of high-quality vegetable oils including olive oil and canola oil. Fatty fish such as mackerel, herring or salmon, are also fantastic for health and wellness.
To maintain optimal health, we need the right ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Currently, the usual ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids is around 10:1, but the goal should be a ratio of 5:1. At the moment we are consuming too few omega-3 fatty acids from sources, and too many omega-6 fatty acids.
You can boost your Omega-3 intake from a multivitamin, or sources like hemp and flax seeds, and fatty fish. Even strawberries and broccoli have trace amounts of this essential fatty acid. Omega-6s are easier to come by since you probably consume many of them through canola, sunflower, soy, and palm oil.
Mediterranean Diet for Heart Health
The inhabitants of the Mediterranean region are known for their good heart health. Despite, or perhaps because of their extensive use of good olive oil, obesity and cardiovascular diseases are less common there than in the USA or other western countries. Even if you live miles away from the Mediterranean, you can incorporate many of these principles into your diet by consuming more quality fats, fish, vegetables, and quality whole grains.
Fats and More
Which is your preferred fat or oil in the kitchen? Do you make an effort to only buy organic or free-range meats and dairy products? Discuss this on FamilyApp.