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Column: Get your FATS right

Ofentse Maphari | 9 March 2017

Whether it’s cooking oil (canola, olive, coconut or sunflower), margarine, butter, avocados or peanuts, fat is always in what we eat. One of the biggest misconceptions about fats is that it is unhealthy and nonessential.

In actuality it’s not about the fat content but about the type of fat you include in your diet. The differences in fats lie in its saturation. Saturated fat refers to the number of hydrogen bonds in fatty acid molecules.

Simply put, saturated fats are to fats that are solid at room temperature (butter, coconut oil) that have a higher percentage of saturated fat DNA oils that are liquid.

In the case of sunflower oil, it contains a higher level of fatty acids despite being in liquid form under room temperature. However, olive oil contains 76% monounsaturated oils, which reduces the amount of fat in your blood thus allowing for healthy blood flow.

When choosing between butter and margarine, margarine is much healthier. Margarine is made from vegetable oils that contain unsaturated fats, which help reduce your chance of cholesterol. Butter has more saturated fat, as it’s made from animal fat. This isn’t to say ALL margarines are healthy, as it is dependent on how it’s made. The trick is: the more solid the margarine, the more saturated fat it contains.

Olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish, leafy greens and avocados contain a combination of fatty acids but are much healthier than other fats as they have lower saturation than other oils. This helps reduce the risk of heart diseases and cholesterol, as less saturated fats are easier and faster to break down in the body.

Adding less saturated fats to your diet also helps with weight loss, but it’s important to note that too much of anything is bad for your body.

By Comfort Phiri

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(Featured Image: iStock)

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