One of the most popular misconceptions about good nutrition and poor nutrition is that fat in food is bad for your health. The decisive factor is the daily workload and, above all, the quality. Certain fats are definitely healthy.
“Fat makes you fat”: For a long time fat was demonized and the thesis was raised “the less fat in the diet, the better”. Of all the macronutrients, fat is the one that provides the most energy or calories, ahead of proteins and carbohydrates. Therefore, a very low-fat diet was advocated for a long time. Today we know that healthy fats have a positive effect on our health and that the body urgently needs certain fats: to store energy and protect itself from heat, as a “solvent” for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, as building material for cell walls. The following is now a sensible reference point: the amount of fat consumed daily is decisive, and the quality. It makes a difference whether we eat bacon or nuts.
Fat per day: what amount is recommended?
In addition to the quality and composition of fats, the amount consumed per day also influences. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends consuming no more than 30 percent of your daily energy as fat. These guidelines apply to an average adult. “However, for a healthy diet, the quality of the fat is even more important than the quantity of fat,” says the consumer advisory center.
“Good” fats, “bad” fats: these are the differences
“Whether fats can cause harm depends primarily on the preparation and composition,” writes the health magazine “Apotheken Umschau”. Basically, there are three types of fats: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. In principle, saturated fatty acids are considered unfavorable. or even harmful to health, while unsaturated fatty acids (especially polyunsaturated) have a health-promoting effect.
Animal foods: lots of saturated fats
Our body can produce saturated fatty acids on its own. “However, they are quite unfavorable as part of the diet because they increase the level of cholesterol,” warns the consumer advice center. These saturated fatty acids are found, for example, in dairy products such as butter or cheese and in meat. According to Apotheken Umschau, they are not as harmful as is often claimed. However, processed products like sausage or ham should only be consumed in moderation.
Vegetable foods: Strong in unsaturated fatty acids
Many vegetable fats, such as those found in olive or rapeseed oil, nuts or avocados, belong to the category of “monounsaturated fatty acids”. Its effect is considered beneficial for the cholesterol level.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids: good for the heart and circulation
Polyunsaturated fatty acids can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks. Two of these fatty acids are “essential”, that is, vital. Since our body cannot accumulate them on its own, we have to supply these fatty acids with food. These are the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid and the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Omega-3 fatty acids are important
Omega-3 fatty acids are fats with anti-inflammatory properties. They are found as so-called omega-3 fatty acids in certain vegetable oils, in nuts and oily fish. 100 grams of salmon contains 12 grams of fat and therefore more than half of the recommended maximum daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-6 fatty acids, which are also polyunsaturated, can be found, for example, in sunflower, linseed, rapeseed or walnut oil, but also in eggs and poultry. However, our eating habits apparently mean that our supply of various fatty acids is somewhat out of balance. According to Apotheken Umschau, the reason is: “While we often eat too many omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are often neglected.”
Alternatives to fatty acids from fish
Fish consumption also has a problematic side for many consumers due to frequent overfishing of many species or fishing grounds, due to pollution or because it is raised in conventional aquaculture (antibiotics). For consumers who are skeptical on this point, Pharmacy Magazine recommends fish or algae oil capsules as an alternative.