March 10, 2021 0

Dietary fat - how much to consume and what are the best sources?

Many people have negative associations when thinking about fat, mainly with overweight and health problems. Meanwhile, they are a very important component of the daily diet. They are responsible for the absorption of some vitamins, such as A, E, D and K, and are also their source; they also provide the body with energy, support the nervous system and the circulatory system. They also lower cholesterol levels and protect internal organs.

Types and sources of fat

The basic division of fats in the diet is the one based on their origin:

  • animal - are rendered from animal tissue, rich in saturated fatty acids, resistant to high temperatures. These are also fish oils, rich in unsaturated fats, as well as dairy fats such as butter;
  • vegetable - pressed from plant and fruit seeds and seeds, e.g. rapeseed, flax, sunflower, sea buckthorn or avocado. They are a source of unsaturated fatty acids. They are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin E.
  • modified and artificial - industrially hardened vegetable fats, e.g., margarine.

Dietary fats can also be divided by the number of bonds:

  • unsaturated - with two bonds between carbon atoms; not produced independently by the body, but necessary for proper functioning. Important due to the presence of omega-3 and omega-6 acids, responsible for proper functioning of the cardiovascular and nervous systems. They are mainly found in vegetable fats, nuts and fish fats;
  • saturated - having one bond between carbon atoms; their sources are mainly animal fats, cheese and eggs, as well as coconut and palm oil. They should not constitute more than 5-6% of fat in the diet. They are an energy store, but according to some studies they increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Dietary fat requirements

Fats are an extremely important component of any diet - without them the body is deprived not only of energy, but also of valuable vitamins. Many organs and systems cannot function properly if they are deficient. Of great importance is not only the amount, but above all the source of fat. Opinions of specialists are divided when it comes to the benefits of different types, but most tend to claim the superiority of unsaturated vegetable fats, having more benefits for health. However, much depends on the diet.

It is accepted that the need for fats varies according to age, gender, physical activity, and physiological state - the general, in a basic diet, is 30-35% of daily calorie requirements. When dieting for weight loss, it is lower. However, if you are not sure what the ideal, balanced level of fats in the diet should look like, it is worth leaving the arrangement of the diet to specialists in this field, namely dieticians, who will present all the beneficial and negative effects of consuming specific types.

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