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Fats & Oils…… Their role in our daily diet.

Posted Feb 28 2013 12:45pm

Fat is necessary in our bodies, as long as we know what kind of fat, how much fat, and along with that, how to cook them.  Fats are essential for a healthy body as well as providing energy essential nutrients, also playing an important role in producing and the cooking of foods making our meals more tasteful.  To ensure our health, it is important to pay attention to both the amount and the type of fat in our diets because excessive consumption, in particular saturated fats, can be a major factor that affects our health.

Source of Fat

Fats in foods have different origins

a)     Animal

The main source of animal fat in Europe is meat and its product, eggs, its dairy products such as butter, cheese, milk, and crème.

b)     Plant origin

Fat can be found in the seeds of plants i.e. rapeseed, sunflower seeds (sunflower, corn), fruits (i.e. olive avocado),  and nuts (i.e. peanuts, almonds).  The oil is derived by first washing and crushing the seeds, fruits, or nuts, and then by heating and removing the oil with the use of specific methods.  The oil is then purified to remove undesirable odor, flavor, color, and other factors that could affect its purity.  Some oils, such as virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and rapeseed oil, are generated directly from the seed or fruit without any refining.  Fats are also naturally present in foods, such as, meats, fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese, whole and skimmed milk, or are added during food preparation.  It may still be visible in foods such as cooking oils, table oils, other fats, creams, and visible fat on meats, or may be mixed with other manufactured foods such as cakes, biscuits, sweets, salty snacks, meat products, or mayonnaise, and thus less noticeable to the consumer.  In the second case the concentration was so big that 70% of the fat intake was called “hidden” fats.

How much fat?

With today’s diet it is difficult to receive less than the amount of fat that is needed, therefore have unpleasant consequences due to the lack of fat.  Usually it is the opposite, since fat is present in most of the foods that we consume, and in some very high quantities, this means that you can easily surpass the recommended intake, which requires caution.  The total daily intake of fat in or diets should not exceed 30%-35% of the total calorie intake, based on the recommendations of international organizers of the bodies.  The quantity of daily consumption depends on the type of fat.   For maximum health benefits, scientists advise that the majority come from monounsaturated fats (olive oil).

Why we need fat?

Fat is one of the three key components that is required in our daily diet, the other two are proteins and carbohydrates, these are essential for normal development and health of the body.  Fat is also a concentrated source of energy, 1 gram of fat provides 9 calories in the body.  Furthermore, fat stored in the body protects bones and organs (insulation) and is a key component of cell membranes that surround and protect our cells.  Without this insulation it would be impossible for cells to exist in the body therefore there would be no life.

Learn about fats

Reading food labels and knowing which fats are contained in what foods can help maintain a balance diet.

Foods rich in different types of fatty acids

Saturated fats:  cheese, meat, and meat products (sausage, burgers), whole milk, yoghurt, pies, cakes, lard, sauté, hard margarines, and shortenings, coconut oil, and palm oil

Monounsaturated fats:  olive, canola, nuts (pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia, cashews, pecans), peanuts, avocado, and their oils (olive, canola)

Polyunsaturated:  Omega-3 polyunsaturated:  salmon, mackerel, herring, trout (particularly rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA acid and DHA or acid.

Omega-6 polyunsaturated:  sunflower seeds, wheat germ, sesame seeds, walnuts, soybeans, corn and their oils, and some margarines (read the label).

Trans fatty acids:  some cooking and frying fats (i.e. hydrogenated vegetable oils) used in biscuits, cakes, and sweets, fatty meat from beef or lamb.

Which fats should athletes prefer and which to avoid?

Here is the general principle of reducing the consumption of saturated fats and increasing the consumption of more polyunsaturated fats, however, athletes should take into account the contribution of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in an abundance in olive oil and peanut oil and seems to protect against heart problems, although this may appear that it replaces saturated fats in the diet.  Polyunsaturated fats can further be divided into omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  Most Europeans consume omega-6 fats because it is known that a lot of their vegetable oil contents come from their land.  We are advised to eat more omega-3 because it is considered to have positive effects on our hearts health and plays an important role in the brain and eye functions.  Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel are a good source of omega-3 fats, which can also be found in nuts and some oils, such as soybean and rapeseed (see related list).  Unsaturated fats can also be displayed with different chemical structures:  a twisted form <> or a straight line <>.  Most unsaturated fats are in the form of <> but the meat and milk of ruminants (cattle, sheep) and products containing partially solidified oils with industrial processing, and some other unsaturated fats are in the form of <>, these are called trans fatty acids.  Like saturated fats, Trans fatty acids increase blood cholesterol.

Smart tips for trainees

Shop smart

Fill your shopping cart with vegetables, fruits, pasta, rice, bread, and breakfast cereals

Learn to read food labels, choose foods that do not contain more than 10 grams of fat per 100 grams product

Try not to shop when hungry

Try alternative foods with low fat, i.e. skim milk, low fat cheese

Cook smart

Limit oil and creamy sauces

Do not munch while cooking

Do not cook more that you need

Use non-stick cookware to reduce the need to use cooking oils and fats

The oil is fat – use cautiously

Remove all visible fat from meat and skin from chicken

Mashed bananas, prunes, and applesauce are a wonderful substitute for fat in cooking

1 tbsp. low fat grated cheese will add flavor without adding calories

Bake in the oven, boil, sauté with limited oil, steam cook

Avoid frying

Sauces and soups may be thickened with mashed potatoes instead of crèmes

Choose low fat recipes and use half the amount of oil

Add spice to your life!!! Fresh herbs and spices add flavor without extra calories

Refrigerate immediately remaining foods to avoid being tempted for seconds salmon oil

Superfoods US 

Source:  http://superfoods.gr/EN/holistic_life_en/ 

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