Health Notes.

Good, Bad and Necessary Fat


You need some type of fats to keep you going. Fats provide energy for the body, cushion the skin and internal organs against damage, insulates the body and reduces heat loss. It also helps to develop healthy cells and transports vitamins A, D, E and K throughout the body. The trouble only begins when there is too much fat.

Fats fall into these categories:

  • Saturated Fats: Found in mutton, beef, coconut oil, palm oil, ghee, chocolate, butter, full-cream milk, ice cream and cream.  Dishes that will have these in abundance include mutton soup, coconut candy, fried kway Teow, nasi Lemak and soup tulang.

You should limit these kinds of fat in your diet. These are the causes of heart disease. Saturated fats has the effect of raising the levels of artery-clogging bad cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than 10 percent  of your daily calories come from this kind of fat. When buying canned products, you can see this kind of fat listed there.

  • Monounsaturated fats: Found in olive oil, canola oil, many kinds of nuts, peanut butter, peanut oil.

These must be taken in moderation. This kind of fat has one pair of hydrogen atom missing, which makes it less likely to contribute to heart disease. Studies show that monounsaturated fat actually lower levels of bad blood cholesterol without affecting the levels of good cholesterol.

  • Polyunsaturated fats: Found in vegetable oil such as corn, soy bean, sesame and safflower.   It is still unclear if this is the best form of fat for eating. Studies suggest that these kind of fats lower levels of bad cholesterol and good cholesterol. Some research had shown that it can also increases the risk of some cancers.  Some polyunsaturated fats are good for health as they contain the essential fatty acids
  • Essential Fatty acids – Found in soya bean oil, sardines and other oily fish, walnuts and dark green vegetables varieties. Take these in moderation. These kind of fats are  necessary for keeping the immune system healthy and for regulating airflow through the lungs and blood flow throughout the body.
  • Trans fats: Found in some margarines. Occurs in small amounts  in natural foods. But hydrogenated vegetable oils result in large amounts of trans fat. Used in cookies and cakes to increase shelf life. These fats can increase the bad cholesterol and lower the body’s good cholesterol.  Best to limit the eating of processed foods, cookies and cakes made with them.


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