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Oil Facts

Fats are essential and should be taken in recommended amounts for health. A diet very low or high in fat may not be optimal for good health. It is very important to choose the correct type of fat. Emphasis should be laid on quality of fat rather than quantity.

The type of fat consumed will determine one’s risk of getting some diseases like cancer, heart diseases.
It is very important to limit the consumption of fatty foods, especially those from animal origin and include moderate amounts of appropriate vegetable oils. Choose vegetable oils that have high monounsaturated fatty acid with minimum hydrogenation that includes canola and olive oil.

There is a direct co-relation between cancer and type of fat consumed. There is a possible increase in the risk of colorectal, lung, breast, uterine and prostate cancer with high consumption of animal fats or saturated fats. Saturated fats are mainly found in food that are from animal origin like pork, beef, eggs, whole milk, cheese, butter and lard. Saturated fats also contribute to the risk of getting cardiovascular diseases.

Moderate consumption of monounsaturated fatty acid in the diet has a protective effect against heart diseases and cancer. Monounsaturated fats helps in increasing the good cholesterol levels and thus decreases the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Thus foods high in monounsaturated fatty acid like almonds, avocadoes, peanuts and other nuts and seeds consumption cannot be ignored completely. However moderation is the key as fats provides almost double calories compared to carbohydrates and proteins and if consumed in excess then will the weighing scale will creep upwards.
Unsaturated vegetable oils such as olive and canola oils are better cooking oil options compared to other oils like sunflower, safflower and corn oil, as olive and canola oil have higher ratio of monounsaturated fatty acid.

A diet that is high in fat can lead to obesity as these diets are also high in calories. High consumption of total fats, both saturated and unsaturated fat is related to increased risk of colorectal, uterine, breast, lung and prostate cancer and higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases and stroke. 15-20% of the total calories should come from fat in a healthy individual’s diet, which means a person eating around 2000 calories per day can consume 33 to 67% grams of fat.

Vegetable oils that are made stable and solid with the help of hydrogenation process should be minimized as these oils have significant amounts of trans fatty acids. Trans fatty acid is linked to development of many diseases, especially linked to the development of heart diseases. Thus it is wise to decrease the consumption of foods that are high in trans fats such as cookies, crackers, cakes, chips, doughnuts, french fries, margarine and shortening.

Avoid overindulgence in any fat, cutting down fat completely is not necessary, but it is important to choose the correct type of fat and consume in moderate amounts.
Submitted on January 16, 2014