Macronutrients: fats

Macronutrients: fats

Introduction to Fats

  • Fats are an essential macronutrient that provide energy and maintain body temperature.
  • There are two main types: saturated and unsaturated fats.
  • They are a key source of essential fatty acids, which the body needs but cannot produce itself.

Saturated Fats

  • These are mainly found in animal products like meat and dairy.
  • Too much saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels, leading to heart disease.

Unsaturated Fats

  • There are two types: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
  • Monounsaturated fats are found in foods such as avocados and olives. They can help reduce levels of bad cholesterol.
  • Polyunsaturated fats, found in fish and seeds, provide essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Role of Fats in the Diet

  • Fats provide a concentrated source of energy.
  • They enhance the taste and texture of food, contributing to feeling of fullness.
  • Fats assist in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.

Health Implications of High Fat Diets

  • Consuming too much fat can lead to obesity and related health problems like type 2 diabetes.
  • High intake of saturated fats can lead to high cholesterol and heart disease.

Dietary Guidelines for Fats

  • Aim for a balance of fats in your diet - not too much and not too little.
  • Less than 11% of energy should come from saturated fats and trans fats should be avoided as much as possible.
  • Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating more fish can be beneficial for heart health.