Are fats important for the human body? Fitness Expert Natasha Kanade Answers!

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Just as every machine, gadget, and vehicle need fuel and battery to work, we as humans also need fuel which we call energy. The energy we get for the proper functioning comes from food. Food plays a very crucial role in the human body and provides a range of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and water. Nutrients provide energy for activity, growth, and all functions of the body such as breathing, digesting food, and building materials for growth and repair of the body.

Food that we eat contains two major groups namely micronutrients and macronutrients. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are your macronutrients and micronutrients are the smaller nutritional categories, such as individual vitamins and minerals. We need both the food groups in the right proportion for the normal function of the body. One of the most trusted names in the fitness industry, Natasha Kanade in the past few years has done exemplary work in promoting health and fitness.

She is a fitness expert and a nutritionist who lays emphasis on the importance of having a healthy diet. She is the founder of ‘Transform With Natasha’, a fitness centre based in Mumbai. According to her, having a perfect balance in anything is extremely important. “Diet in that case also needs to be perfectly balanced. You cannot simply rely on protein or carbs. Everything is important to consume for leading a fit and healthy lifestyle”, says Kanade.

Furthermore, she says that the most popular macronutrient is protein because of its ability to increase muscle mass and then carbohydrate and the least talked about is fats. Consuming enough of each will ensure that your diet is balanced. Fat it is the most concentrated source providing 9 kcal per 1 gram consumed, which is more than double the energy content of protein or carbohydrate (4 kcal per gram) and fibre (2 kcal per gram).

Contrary to past dietary advice promoting low-fat diets, new research shows healthy fats are necessary for health. Fat is a carrier for the fat-soluble like vitamins A, D, E and K, and supports their absorption in the intestine. Fat also keeps the hormone levels in check and regulate blood – glucose levels and insulin response. And highlighting the most important part and that is that it tastes so good. It is advised that 20-35% of the total daily energy intake should come from dietary sources of fats.

The recommendations for total fat intake are further subdivided into advised intakes for the specific fatty acids – saturated fats, trans fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats containing omega 3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Different types of fats have different chemical structures and physical properties. Saturated and trans fat are known as bad fats, although some amount of saturated fat won’t harm. They tend to be more solid at room temperature (like a stick of butter), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be more liquid (like liquid vegetable oil).

Saturated fat and trans fats also raise LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. Trans fat can also suppress high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels or “good” cholesterol. Hence it is advised to choose Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats in your diet and to keep saturated fats to a minimum amount. In simple words, foods that contain bad fat are samosas, vada pav, burger, patty and chips among other products. Whereas nuts, salmon, avocados and seeds contain good fat.

To sum it up, Natasha Kanade jots down 3 important points to understand how should you be consuming fat in your diet.

  • Keep saturated fatsto less than 6% of your total daily calories.
  • Eating more unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats can help lower your LDL cholesterol. Example for unsaturated fats – Sunflower oil, safflower oil, olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, seeds. salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and soybean oil.
  • As fats being the most concentrated source of energy, it is advisable that you consume the same in moderation. Even the oils you use for cooking, your daily allowance of oil should be around 2 –3 tbsp and the rest can come from nuts/seeds/fish.

To know more about the fitness expert and her work, check out her website, www.transformwithnatasha.com.