Fat and Cholesterol – Our Friends or Enemies?

We may have doubts,
whether fat is our friend or foe?,
are some fats better than some others?,
will too much of fat cause heart disease?,
are cholesterol and fat are one and the same?.
The answer to all these doubts is”YES”.

FAT is an important part of our daily diet and also an important part of the human body. Generally we think fat is harmful to our health. A woman’s body is composed of about 25 to 30 percent of fatty tissue, a man’s body 10 percent less. Body fat has several important jobs.
It carries fat-soluble vitamins ADE&K throughout the body. It protects and insulates body organs and is essential for the production of sex hormones.Fat becomes a problem only when there is too much of it, and the wrong type.
A diet high in fat has been linked to an increased risk of various forms of cancer, including colon and rectal cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer. It has also been associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

There are different types of fat in the food we eat. But all types of fat are not equal.
The different types of fat are, Saturated,Polyunsaturated and,Monounsaturated,fats.
Saturated fat is solid at room temperature which is found mainly in foods of animal origin.
Polyunsaturated fats are mainly from plant sources, and Linolinic acid, which is necessary for cell formation, is found in these fats. Some types of polyunsaturated oils have been known to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Some others and all margarines go through a process called hydrogenation. This makes them useful for baking and increases the shelf life, but also creates substances called trans-fatty acids, which are like saturated fat in the body.
Monounsaturated fats are found in oils such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, etc.,which will raise good cholesterol

Excessive saturated fats and hydrogenated vegetable oil/trans-fat used in the preparation of fast food have been associated with heart disease. Omega 3’s found in fish oils and flax seed oil have been shown to prevent coronary artery disease.
We may have a doubt whether Fat and cholesterol are different names for one and the same thing.Cholesterol is a waxy, yellowish, fat-like substance produced mainly by the liver and to a lesser degree by the intestines. Like fat, it is an important part of the body. It is necessary for the production of vitamin D, is essential for the production of sex hormones, and is needed to produce cell membranes and the fatty coat that surrounds nerves.

Cholesterol is produce within human body and also the food we take contains cholesterol. As the body produces enough cholesterol for our need we need not take in food for it. Like fat, cholesterol also becomes harmful only when it is in excess.
Saturated fats and trans-fats, stimulate the production of cholesterol and ; therefore high levels of one will be tied to high levels of the other. The normal levels of Cholesterol are,
Total Cholesterol less than 200, LDL than 70 – 100,HDL More than 40 male, and more than 50 for female.

Fat as well as cholesterol are our friends when managed well, and like all friends, can become our enemies when mis-treated.

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