The Sunday Leader

Let’s discuss about foods high in saturated fat

Good advice from Dr Harold


“Do not be afraid of eating fatty foods, because- your body needs fat. It gives you shape, controls your temperature, helps absorption of fat soluble vitamins, among other benefits and your excess fat is stored in fat cells as triglycerides. The question is how much to eat. If you are active and exercise daily, it does not matter because fat will be utilized to provide energy. It is the sedentary individual who needs to restrict”.

Fats are all composed of fatty acid chains. These are carbon atom chains linked with hydrogen atoms on either side to balance and at the two ends there are CHO molecules.

Saturated fats have all the carbon atoms filled with hydrogen links, with no vacancies. So, we call them saturated.

It is a type of fat that is solid at room temperature. If you purchase coconut oil that is liquid at room temperature it is processed- don’t buy. It should be solid and only could be scooped out. Lard, butter, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, and it is advisable to consume in small quantities. You should eat only about 22 grams a day, that is about 10 per cent of the total calories per day, (200 calories per day in a 2000 calorie diet). Too much consumption of saturated fats increases your bad cholesterol in your body, and you also put on additional weight.
Do not worry about cholesterol in your foods like eggs, butter, dairy products and sea food.

Truly you should be concerned about the saturated fat content in the products, including the carbs and sugars. The latter too ends up in your fat cells and liver as triglycerides, with the help of insulin.

Ice cream is full of saturated fat and sugar. It is advisable for health reasons to avoid as much as possible. In the US. 3,000 people die of listeria poisoning from eating ice cream, because this germ loves ice cream just as you like it.

Yogurt is also composed of saturated fat, but you could choose the low fat and unsweetened Greek style ones that are good for you. Further, yogurt is a pro-bioticmeaning has got certain good gut bacteria beneficial for health and well-being. Go for it every day.

Chicken is white meat but still have saturated fat. If you like chicken it is a good idea to stick to chicken breast which has little saturated fat. It has only 1 gram per serving.

Milk has saturated fat, but you could choose the non-fat pasteurized milk powder which has vitamin A, D and calcium as the fresh milk.

Beware of Pizza’s. One piece of cheese pizza has 10 grams of fat, and a significant number of calories- about 240 Cals. It has high sodium content (410.0 mg) and total carbs about 30g, and dietary fibre almost nil. It is equivalent to eating 15 chips (French fries). Nevertheless, they are nutritious: contains Vitamin A, B12, B6, D, E Calcium, Copper, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Zinc, Thiamine, Riboflavin and so on.

Pork seems to be added to lots of foods for taste. Even a slice of bacon in an omelette tastes better than without. Furthermore, pork is cheap in the supermarkets, and lots of people go for it. The fat content in pork chops is very high. There are saturated fats in the skin, under the skin and within the muscles, and in 4 ounces, with bone, broiled or baked has 12 grams of fat. Large chops have as much as 18.50 grams of saturated fat.

Are saturated fats bad for your heart?


It is believed that cholesterol taken in your food has no influence on the serum cholesterol, but it is the saturated fats in food when consumed is used by the liver to manufacture cholesterol. Therefore, eating eggs having high cholesterol, and low saturated fat is okay, but it is also known that rule may not apply to diabetics who suffer from metabolic syndrome.

It is believed that though eating saturated fat, the type found in meat, cheese and other dairy foods, can lead to heart disease, instead, we were told to choose healthy unsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, fish and veggie oils.

New research questions that belief. A recent review of 72 studies found no link between saturated fat and heart disease. The review also showed that monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, nuts and avocados don’t protect against heart disease.

Despite such recent research studies, the American Heart Association say getting a lot of saturated fat raises your chances of getting heart disease- and they aren’t changing their guidelines.

Macadamia Nuts

You are advised to eat nuts when you are on a diet to satiate your hunger. It does work, but at the same time you are putting in lot of fat into your body. Just a quarter cup of macadamia nuts has 4 times as much as a full dinner serving of pork tenderloin.

Eating nuts have many other advantages. An ounce (28 grams) of mixed nuts contain about 175 calories, but nutritionally they are rich in vitamin E, Magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and selenium. The carb content of most nuts is high. Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts have less than 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving, while cashews have almost 8 digestible carbs per serving.

It is considered an excellent food to eat on a low-carb diet. Beware of Cole Slaw. It is traditionally mayonnaise-based, creamy kind and it got nearly double the saturated fat that’s in a sizzling slice of bacon.

Caffe Latte: Caffe Latte is full of saturated fat. A fat-free alternative just coffee with skim milk or green tea would be the substitute.
The Inuit Paradox: The eskimos eat primarily only meat and fat, very little fruits and vegetables and are healthier than any other groups of people. They seem to eat all the things that are blamed for heart disease and cancers, yet somehow have little to no disease of modern man.

Inuit diet is high in selenium, common to whale skin and likely explanation why prostate cancer is almost unheard of in the north. Cardiovascular disease is also rare.

Traditionally their diet is fats and proteins, no sugar at all. (ref: www.theiflife)

Conclusions: You should replace foods cooked in high saturated fats with foods cooked in high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. This means using vegetable oils for cooking and avoid lard and saturated fat oils. Coconut oil is a tropical oil and is saturated, but test of time has proved that it is a healthy oil and the risk of heart disease has not increased among nations who uses it daily.

Sri Lankans love to eat foods fried in oil, and rice cooked with oils as in fried rice and lumprai. It is suggested that unsaturated oils are used instead of butter and other saturated oils.

What is important is the overall diet, and eating unprocessed foods, fruits, nuts and pulses, without using saturated oils for cooking methods is the way to go. Do not forget to eat high fibre foods daily.

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