Fats or Lipids: Healthy Fat And Unhealthy Fat

“Body uses fat as fuel. Fat is the storage form of energy in the Human Body. A moderate amount of diet is necessary for nutritional health.”

Healthy fat: Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as a healthy fat. They are suitable for cholesterol and heart. Prevent abnormal heart rhythms. Decrease risk for heart disease and stroke. 

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Table of Contents

Healthy fat sources

  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Chia seeds
  • Egg yolks
  • Peanut butter
  • Sunflower seeds

Unhealthy Fat:  Bad fat such as artificial trans fats & saturated fats. All fats have been blamed for heavyweight or weight gain.

Unhealthy fat sources

  • Fried food
  • Pastries, muffins, 
  • Cake
  • Pizza dough

Fats are also called lipids. Lipids are greasy feel, insolubility in water. it is an energy source and provides 2.5 times more energy per gram than carbohydrates and proteins (i.e., nine kcal/g.)

Lipids are composed of glycerol and fatty acids linked together to form an ester (triglycerides).

Quality of fatty acids

  • Fatty acids may be saturated (mainly in animal fats), monounsaturated (MUFA, e.g., oleic acid in groundnut oil, olive oil, and corn oil), and Polyunsaturated (PUFA, e.g., linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and Arachidonic acid in safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil.)
  • Essential Fatty acids (EFA): Cannot be synthesized in humans and are abundantly found in vegetable oils (40-75%). Blends of different oils should be used to get the required amounts of EFA, e.g., sesame+ mustard, groundnut+ mustard, corn+ rice bran oil, and soybean + olive. 

Functions of fats

  • It was deposited in the adipose tissue as a reserve energy source during starvation (no food intake for an extended period).
  • They provided insulation against cold.
  • Fats spare proteins from being oxidized for energy.
  • They provide cushion and protection to vital organs (e.g., heart, kidney).
  • It absorbs fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).
  • They provide satiety value to food (same contrast feeling hunger) and improve its palatability (satisfaction or pleasure after a feed).

Cholesterol required for the synthesis of steroid hormones; PUFA is Precursors of prostaglandins (local hormones).

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Sources of fats

The significant sources of animal fats are ghee, butter, milk, cheese, egg, yolk, meat, and fish. Animal fats are mostly saturated fats.

  • Vegetable fats: Some plants store fat in their seeds, e.g., groundnut, mustard, soybean, sesame, coconut, almond, cashew nut, safflower, sunflower, etc.
  • Other sources: Small quantities of fat (invisible) are found in most other foods such as cereals, pulses, and vegetables. Large cereal consumption in India Provides considerable amounts of hidden fats.  

Fat requirement

The WHO Expert committee on the prevention of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) has recommended 20 to 30 percent of total dietary energy provided by the fats. At least 50 percent of fat intake should consist of vegetable oils rich in essential fatty acids. 

Effect of deficiency

  • The deficiency of fatty acids in the diet leads to a condition known as phrenoderma or toad skin. 
  • It is famous horny eruptions on thighs’ posterior and lateral aspects and the back and buttocks.
  • In adults and children was cured rapidly by the administration of safflower seed oil rich in EFA along with vitamins of the B complex.
  • A deficiency of fat may result in a lack of fat-soluble vitamins, affecting the children’s growth and weight.

Effects of excessive fats

  • The more significant concern today is the problems related to excessive intake of fats. 
  • Excessive fat causes obesity as it is stored in the fatty tissues. In normal subjects, adipose tissues constitute between 10 to 15 % of body weight, but in fat people.
  • Increase to 30 percent. Most body fat is in the form of triglycerides, which can be synthesized by the Human Body.

Hypercholesterolemia and coronary heart disease

  • When the blood cholesterol level is above 250 mg per 100 ml, atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease incidence are high. (atherosclerosis is the narrowing space of arteries due to cholesterol).


  • Diet high in fat increases colon cancer and breast cancer risk. Hansen and co-workers also reported perianal irritation and skin dryness in one study on infants with an EFA deficient diet.

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Still have any questions about fatty foods? Ask in the comments section!

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