Correct fats

The use of fats in the diet

For most people, proper nutrition means limiting fat - many firmly believe that fat from food quickly turns into fat on the body. In place of butter, margarine comes in, whole milk is replaced with fat, and instead of frying, food starts to cook for a couple.

However, this is an erroneous approach, since many fat-free products are more harmful to the figure than their "normal" counterparts, since they place fat in the place of sugar and other carbohydrates. It is necessary to understand that fats are useful and important for health, and you need to give up only some of them.

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Which fats are useful and which are not?

Exactly how carbohydrates are simple and complex, fats( or rather fatty acids) also differ from each other in their structure and number of atoms. Any vegetable or animal fat consists of a mixture of fatty acids. Despite the fact that there are dozens of such acids, only 5-7 are common.

At the same time, fats are classified not by the number of atoms of the p oxide in their composition, but by the presence or absence of free bonds at the hydrogen atoms( "saturation") - hence the division into saturated and unsaturated fats. To saturated fats are, above all, animal fat.

What fat is useful on a diet?

The body absorbs different fats in different ways. Fatty acids with up to 15 carbon atoms, p , are absorbed directly from the intestine and used for metabolic needs - such fatty acids are contained in coconut oil( about 80%) and partly in cow's milk( 25% of all fats in the composition).

Fats with a longer chain for assimilation should be split in the stomach into component parts. In this case, the aforementioned saturated( or animal fats) do have an increased chance of converting to fat stores - unlike unsaturated vegetable fats and omega-3 fats.

Omega 3, 6 and 9 - what is it?

The most common type of fatty acids are those that contain 18 carbon atoms - in any kind of oil or fat they prevail in quantity. If there is a double bond in the chain of their atoms, then this fat is called omega-3, 6 or 9( depending on the location of the bond in the chain of atoms).

In other words, the chemical formula of "useful" omega-3 does not differ from the formula of "harmful" omega-6 - the difference consists only in the location of the double bond. However, this is what affects how the body will be able to use a similar fatty acid.

Balance of omega-3 and omega-6

The most useful are omega-3 fatty acids - they are critically important for metabolism, immunity and brain function. Unfortunately, our body can not synthesize them from other fatty acids, and the presence of omega-6 acids minimizes the positive effect of omega-3 on health( 1).

With this, omega-3 is not just fish oil, but only one of the fatty acids. Omega-3 is found in eggs, avocados and even in olive oil( albeit in small amounts).Note that the content of omega-3 in seeds of chia is also small - to cover the norm will have to eat 100 grams of seeds per day.

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Omega-6 in animal fat

Like any other, animal fat is a combination of fatty acids. At the same time on what fatty acids are included in its composition, affects primarily the diet of a particular animal. Given that "modern" cows and chickens are fed corn, there are many harmful omega-6 acids in their meat and fat.

It is also important that tables of caloric content and composition of meat from the Internet( or even from the packaging of the product) can not be trusted - they show only "average" data obtained decades ago on another animal. In fact, no one tested the composition of a piece of meat( and its fat) lying in front of you.

Useful and harmful fat

Clearly can be called sunflower and corn oil - their fat profile of 50-60% consists of omega-6, neutralizing the beneficial omega-3.The situation is aggravated by the fact that omega-6 can be "hidden" in industrial beef and chicken meat without any mention.

In the case of other fats, the role, first of all, is played by quantity. In a proper diet, fats should account for about 30-35% of the total caloric value - both large and small, the numbers lead to a disruption in metabolism, provoking the body to build up fat stores.


Any animal fat or vegetable oil is a mixture of different fatty acids. At the same time, how much in the composition of omega-6 or omega-3 will be influenced, above all, the process of growing a particular plant or animal. The figures of the composition on the packages are very, very approximate.

Scientific sources:

  1. The importance of the ratio of omega-6 / omega-3 essential fatty acids, source
  2. Palmitic acid mediates hypothalamic insulin resistance by altering PKC-theta subcellular localization in rodents, source