What are fats: what you should know for a healthy diet

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The fats are the bane of many diets, however, it is a essential macronutrient, no less mandatory than the proteins we need to eat. They perform various functions in the body and are a source of energy along with the glucose that we obtain from carbohydrates.

In addition, the fats they help us to absorb the vitamins we take and allow our cells to communicate with each other. And, yes, they also help food taste good. “If you appreciate the smoothness of guacamole or the texture of a croissantsyou have to thank the fats food,” says Ali Webster, a registered dietitian nutritionist and director of nutrition research and communication at the International Food Information Council.

Finding a balance in food is essential.

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Of course, like other elements of a complete diet, fats they should be enjoyed in moderation. And it is that this macronutrient also provides many calories: Each gram of fat contains nine calories., while each gram of protein or carbohydrate that is ingested contains only four. Just for that, the fats can be detrimental to maintaining a healthy weight and heart. However, they are in many of the foods we eat: meat, fish, milk and others, so we have given ourselves the task of gathering all the information you need to know about them.

It starts with identifying the type of fat you eat

There are two kinds of dietary fats, both composed of long, straight chains of carbon atoms, with a variable number of hydrogen atoms along the chain. The Saturated fats they are so named because they have more hydrogen atoms, which also means they are solid at room temperature. The unsaturated fats they have fewer hydrogen atoms and are usually liquid at room temperature.

The Saturated fats they’re found in animal-based foods like chicken and beef, as well as in the kinds of foods everyone likes to eat—pizza, fast food, desserts, and burgers. These are the fats which can lead to higher levels of LDL, or low-density lipoproteins. As you already know, LDL is harmful, and too much of it can clog your blood vessels and make it difficult for oxygen to move properly through your body. Experts recommend a saturated fat intake less than 10% of daily calories. The American Heart Association goes one step further: no more than 6% of daily calories should come from Saturated fats.

portions are key

The real problem with fatsis that people do not eat enough unsaturated fats, at least according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The unsaturated fats They are divided into two groups: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Avocados, almonds and olive oil contain monounsaturated fats; salmon, walnuts, and canola oil contain polyunsaturated fats.