Saturday, October 02, 2004

Understanding Fats and Oils

Like Cholesterol, when we hear the word fat, we right away associate it with the word “unhealthy”. I bet you, not a lot really pay attention to the ads they see on TV or read on newspapers about the phrase “low in saturated fat” these days mainly because they do not understand what a “low in saturated fat” means.

First of all, there are 4 classifications of dietary fat and not all these fats are bad. Like cholesterol, there is a good and a bad fat and they all play different roles in our body. Depending on the amount of fat in our body, their presence could result in the widening or narrowing of our arteries and as a result changes the flow of our blood, leading to the risk of a cardiovascular disease.

The four types of fat

Saturated Fat

Comes mostly from beef, lamb, milk, cheese, other dairy products and other processed foods containing hydrogenated vegetable shortening like pastries and fried fast foods. This fat contains the most powerful fatty acids (myristic and palmitic) responsible in raising our blood cholesterol level. Palmitic acid is the major fatty acid in palm and coconut oil. Among other sources, it is also found in cottonseed, lard and cocoa butter. Hence, we are always reminded to trim visible fat from all cuts of meat. If you haven’t done it yet, switch to non-fat or reduced fat milk or other dairy products. When I switched to skim milk, for a few weeks I felt like my tummy was going to go upside down. Now it is the other way around.

Monounsaturated Fat

Comes from among others avocado, olive oil, peanuts and canola oil. Among the four classifications of fats, monounsaturated fat is considered the most beneficial to our health because it lowers our LDL Cholesterol and raises our HDL cholesterol levels.

Polyunsaturated Fat

Comes from fish oils, seafood and vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower, corn and soy oils. Polyunsaturated fats is still divided into two categories:

Omega-3 fats found mostly in fish, seafood, lean meat, plant foods, soybean are known to improve our blood vessels and to thin our blood making it less sticky and less likely to clot.

Omega-6 fats found in nuts, seeds and plant oils like corn, soy and safflower.

It is recommended that you do not batter or fry fish in hydrogenated vegetable fat as deep-frying may decrease the omega-3 content of the fish.

Trans Fats

Formed only when hydrogen is added to harden monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats to form margarines and other shortening used in baking. Trans fatty acid is also produced naturally by ruminant animals thus the production of butter and other dairy products. My dietitian suggests that if margarine is made of trans fatty acid, it is better to have butter instead. It is recommended that you should limit takeout foods, potato chips, biscuits and cakes and other food containing vegetable shortening.


Blogger rolly said...

VEry useful post as always, ting aling. Nung una akala ko yung saturated fats yung mga sinitsarong taba. Ewan ko ba, sabi ko kasi, nasaturate na yung taba kaya okay ng kainin. Di ko alam kung talagang tanga lang ako o nagju-justify lang sa pagkain ng sitsaron.

1:13 AM  
Blogger Dr. Emer said...

Another great and informative post, Ting-Aling! We just pray people will use this information to eat wisely and get their lipid values down to where they should be.


1:08 PM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

Tito Rolly,

Noong araw, ganoon din ang akala ko. The more na fried ang ulam, the more na saturated ng fat. Hindi pala. I like the fact na hindi lahat ng fat e masama.

1:58 PM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

Dok, I am glad that you find this helpful for our kababayans. I am sure you know all these things already, in depth pa. Salamat ulit.

2:01 PM  
Blogger bayibhyap said...

I think the big problem for many people (including myself, of course :-)) is that things that are fried taste so crispy, crunchy and delicious. I am guilty all the way but making good progress...

10:15 AM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

Same here. If there's one thing I have improved on, it's using Olive oil for cooking..never mind if it is a little more expesive than the usual cooking oils.

1:38 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home