What we Eat

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Fats are used in our day-to-day cooking. Foods cooked and fried in fats are considered to be delicacies in Indian homes. Any festival or any social gathering finds varieties of fried foods on the menu.

Foods rich in fat are very tasty and palatable. Actually it is the fact content in the food that makes it palatable. Try eating a dry chapti or a dosa and see how different it tastes when the same is eaten with a spoonful of ghee!

Taste apart, fats beyond a certain level are harmful to the human body. Fats when metabolized in the cells release double the calories than proteins and carbohydrates. It is necessary to remind ourselves here that the food we eat generally is comprised of carbohydrates, proteins, fats minerals, vitamins and water. Carbohydrates are energy giving substance whereas proteins are cell-builders and fats are reserves for energy in case the carbohydrates are not available.

a) One gram of carbohydrate and protein gives four calories when metabolized.

b) One gram of fat gives nine calories when metabolized.

What a difference! Nowadays we hear a lot of fashionable terms like PUFA and MUFA. Let us see if we can make some sense of these various types of fats.

PUFA: poly unsaturated Fatty Acids (Omega 6). These are found in corn, soya and vegetable oils.

1)      They are beneficial in only small quantities

2)      Large quantities are risky for the heart

3)      Generally, PUFA are not very safe for consumption

MUFA: mono unsaturated Fatty Acids

1)      These are found in peanuts and other nuts

2)      They are fairly safe for the heart and blood vessels

Omega 3

1)      These are the best of all fats

2)      These are found in fish oils

3)      They pose a very low risk for heart and blood vessels

4)      They are very safe for daily use

Saturated fats

1)      These are found mostly in animal fats like lard

2)      These are also found in butter, ghee and certain cooking media

3)      They solidify on standing

4)      They are dangerous for the heart and blood vessels

Tran’s fats

1)      These are artificially processed fats

2)      These are the worst of all fats

3)      They are used in packed snacks

4)      They are extremely unsafe for the heart and blood vessels

5)      They are carcinogenic 

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