Analyzing dietary fat

People come in all shapes and sizes. Some are tall, some are short. Some are large and some are thin. Age also contributes to the softening of lean tissue. Then there’s dietary fat that can be good or bad for you.

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that healthy adults over the age of 19 consume between 20 and 35 percent of their daily calories from dietary fat. This means if you eat a diet of 2,000 calories per day, you should consume between 44 grams and 77 grams of total fat daily. Almost all dietary fat in your diet comes in the form of triglycerides. Most of this fat is necessary for metabolizing energy. Some key nutrients require fat for body absorption. A small amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. Excess fat is stored in the body’s cells until it is needed for energy. Fat helps to form ATP as a core component to deliver energy. ATP uses fat, sugars, starches to tabulate energy consumed and used. Dietary fat is necessary – perhaps more than sugars. Is there a best dietary fat?

When eating foods containing dietary fat, here are four major dietary fats in the foods we eat:
Saturated fats.
Trans fats.
Monounsaturated fats. (MUFA)
Polyunsaturated fats. (PUFA)

Unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Both mono- and polyunsaturated fats, when eaten in moderation and used to replace saturated or trans fats, might help lower cholesterol levels and may reduce your risk of heart disease, when replacing use of saturated or trans fats in food preparation. Keys here are moderate and replacement.

The discussion among the use of better dietary fat offers some complexity about how fat is structured and how those structures interact with your body. Fats are chains of acids. Some are essential, with either short, medium, or long tails that create a fat molecule. Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them. Non-essential fatty acids are those we can produce and are usually added dietary fat for flavor enhancement.

There are differences among saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Fatty acids that possess no double bonds are saturated (have maximum number of H atoms). Saturated fatty acids are linear in structure, originate from animal sources (i.e. fats) and are typically solid at room temperatures

Fatty acids with double bonds are unsaturated – either monounsaturated (1 double bond) or polyunsaturated (>1 double bond). Unsaturated fatty acids are bent in structure, originate from plant sources (i.e. oils) and are typically liquid at room temperatures. Sources of unsaturated fat vary:

Avocados. One medium avocado has approximately 23 grams of fat, but it is primarily monounsaturated fat.
Walnuts plus other nuts, like almonds and pistachios, and nut and seed butters.
Olives and Olive oil. …
Ground flaxseed
Salmon and other fish oils

Transduction is the process of how your body isolates dietary fat components to feed cells, hormones, and other body parts and functions. Excess or non-essential) fats are stored microscopically in many areas. Chronic excesses start to show in arteries organs, and skin tissues. Either resourced from unsaturated, saturated, essential, or non-essential, many of these excesses are deposited as fat storage. This is how the body transduces (converts) fats. Display of fatty skin deposits usually result from long and accumulating deposits of dietary fat.

So how is fat stored? It’s complicated. Fat cells are actually molecules containing chains of acids. Some are essential fatty acids (EFA) providing nutrients for cell and body function. Other fatty acids are catalysts that aid in controlling balance, elimination, and storage. The fatty acids are bonded together by a glue made of starches. These are called triglycerides and are essential to make and keep fat molecules fatty. It’s a symbiosis for keeping your body comfortably fat. Yet, too much storage leads to obesity and diseases like diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Surprisingly, dietary fat uses a starch-based relative of the carbohydrate family. It’s called glycerol. All oils and fat contain glycerol. Glycerol is a polyhydric alcohol, or a sugar alcohol, a polysaccharide. Glucose is the basic unit, of which polysaccharides like starch and cellulose are composed. Glycerol is an essential component of oils and fats, which are called esters or triglycerides. On one end of the chain there is a carboxyl-group, or a carbon double bonded to an oxygen and single bonded to an oxygen and hydrogen. Double bonds are depicted by using two lines. A fat is formed when a glycerol joins with three fatty acids. Fats are also called triglycerides. On one end of the chain there is a carboxyl-group, or a carbon double bonded to an oxygen and single bonded to an oxygen and hydrogen. Fatty acids are long, straight chain carboxylic acids. A fat (or oil) is formed when three fatty acid molecules react with a glycerol molecule to yield a triglyceride. Double bonds are depicted by using two lines, which you can see in the image below. A fat is formed when a glycerol joins with three fatty acids. Fats are also called triglycerides. These fat molecules bond to tissues of the body.

Two of the fatty acids are considered essential. These essential fatty acids (EFAs) are known as linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). One system of fatty acid classification is based on the number of double bonds. Stearic acid is a typical long chain saturated fatty acid. Oleic acid is a typical monounsaturated fatty acid. Linoleic acid is a typical polyunsaturated fatty acid.

Groups of fatty acids bond with a fat molecule and these are called short-chain (SCFA), medium-chain (MFA or MCT), long-chain (LFA), and (sometimes) very long chains. Understanding fats through fatty acids helps you appreciate how fats are essential and basic to cell and body functions. Fats are lipids. Lipids include fats, fatty acids, sterols, phospholipids, glycolipids, waxes, and other substances. They are essential components of every cell membrane.

Short-chain fatty acids are fatty acids with fewer than 6 carbon (C) atoms. They are produced when the friendly gut bacteria ferment fiber in your colon, and are the main source of energy for the cells lining your colon. These 3 short-chain acids work at processing fiber for regularity when eliminating waste products.

Foods containing SCFA consist of:

Resistant starches from whole-grain cereals, barley, brown rice, beans, lentils, green bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes or pasta.

Pectin from apples, apricots, blackberries, carrots and oranges.

The primary acids are:

Acetic acid (2 C atoms)
Propionic acid (3 C atoms)
Butyric acid (4 C atoms)

In the metabolic process, SCFA is simpler because of the shorter fatty acid but are often essential at regulating the use of food fibers from remaining in your body.

Medium chain fatty acids or medium chain triglycerides are more sophisticated and actually help improve digestive processes and more efficient metabolism. Used responsibly, MCT may help keep your weight stable or help you lose a few pounds.

Use of these foods provide surprising effects, especially coconut oil (caprylic acid) that are generally saturated fats. Aside from coconut oil, smaller amounts of MCTs can also be found in certain other foods with saturated fats including butter (especially butter from grass-fed cows), cheeses, palm oil, whole milk and full-fat yogurt. While this lies contrary to low-fat dieting there is some scientific support that responsible use of these MCT foods may help contribute to weight loss and higher energy via interactivity with certain proteins.

Long-chain fatty acids are those with 14 or more carbons. They’re found in most fats and oils, including olive oil,
canola oil, soybean oil, fish, nuts, avocado and meat.

Yet, even in these long fat chains conflicts remain about health benefits of Omega-3 and Omega-6 benefits. As social media guru Dr. Mercola indicates:

The science is loud and clear: the correct balance of fatty acids is essential if you want to be the healthiest you can be.

There are actually two problems related to how these fats are being consumed by most Westerners today:

Most people are consuming far too many omega-6 fats or fatty acids compared to omega-3 fats or fatty acids.

The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is 1:1, but the typical Western diet is between 1:20 and 1:50.
The typical Westerner is consuming far too many polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) altogether, which is a problem in and of itself.
So, most consume the wrong amount—AND the wrong ratio of these highly benefical fats.

Both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are PUFAs and they’re both essential to your health, but when omega-6 is consumed in excess, it become problematic.

As a group, when consumed in the wrong ratios, they tend to stimulate inflammatory processes in your body, rather than inhibit them.

You need some inflammation to protect yourself from infections and trauma, and PUFAs help you mount these defenses.

The interesting thing is that Omega-3 is a dietary fat that must be consumed. For virtually all fat production by the body, it can metabolize fats from other sources – including carbohydrates.

Omega-3 foods are typically fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines. A popular vegan source is flax, either seeds or oil. Despite the positives pf omega-3 dietary fat foods, fish are sources of cholesterol. For those monitoring cholesterol and triglyceride levels, professional holistic physicians should be sought.

The three types of omega−3 fatty acids involved in human physiology are α-linolenic acid (ALA) (found in plant oils), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (both commonly found in marine oils).

Dr. Axe does make points that if the balance of meat-based omega-6 and fish-based omega 3 are askew, there are side-effects:

What are the risks of consuming too little omega-3s (plus too many omega-6s)?

Inflammation (sometimes severe)
Higher risk for heart disease and high cholesterol
Digestive disorders
Allergies
Arthritis
Joint and muscle pain
Mental disorders like depression
Poor brain development
Cognitive decline

(although some of these claims are not well supported by scientific evidence. For example, there are many probabilities for most things on his list). Generally, omega-6 foods are seen as potentially dangerous. Omega-6 dietary fat acids, however, as part of the long chain partner as constituents of many foods.

So Omega 6 is found in foods that include:
poultry.
eggs.
nuts.
hulled sesame seeds.
cereals.
durum wheat.
whole-grain breads.
most vegetable oils.

While there is a debate about the ratio of Omega-3 vs Omega-6 regarding health, both are essential fatty acid complexes. Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. When eaten in moderation and in place of the saturated fats found in meats and dairy products, omega-6 fatty acids can be good for your heart.

While focus tends to be omega-3 and omega-6 dietary fat acids, there are other omega fats. Unlike the 3’s and 6’s, Omega-9 fats are not “essential” fatty acids. That means that you don’t need to get them in your diet – if your body needs them, it can make its own. … Omega-9 fatty acids include: Oleic acid: a monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, macadamia oil, poultry fat, and lard. Poultry fat and lard are trans-fats, generally regarded as unhealthy. Some of the top foods to get omega-9 benefits include sunflower, hazelnut, safflower, macadamia nuts, soybean oil, olive oil, canola oil, almond butter and avocado oil.

Research has shown some evidence that omega-9 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Omega-9 benefits heart health because omega-9s have been shown in some tests to increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and decrease LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol).

There are actually 15 omega fatty acid complexes but only Omega 3 and Omega 6 are dietary essential.

While dietary fat may not be a sole determinant of body fat, consuming extra calories than using each day will add body fat deposits. When you consume more calories than your body needs, both carbs and fats end up stored in muscles and in other areas throughout the body. The body stores dietary fats in the form of triglycerides, whether in muscles or fat cells. Carbs are first turned into glycogen, which is stored in the liver and muscles. Ketogenic diets believe that, by removing carbs as an energy source, part of the body fat will be used via gluconeogenesis. It works as a lifestyle choice. The liver, kidneys, and brain can produce the glycogens it requires to function, in the absence of carbs. It also breaks down glycerols found in fat. Body fat, however has layers – particularly visceral and subcutaneous.

Body fat may not be a fashionable ideal but visceral fat is more hazardous. Much of the fat in the stomach area lies directly under the skin. This is called subcutaneous fat and is not necessarily hazardous to your health. The fat that is harmful is the unseen fat around your organs, otherwise known as visceral abdominal fats. These also show up in blood tests. The problems are before they become visceral body fat, visceral fat coats the liver, kidney, and other vital organs. In the bloodstream, they may be factors that clog arteries.

How to Lose Visceral Fat:
See a certified dietician.
Do blood tests.
Cut out all trans fats from your diet.
Don’t drink a lot of alcohol.
Do resistance training.
Do high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Improve your hormone profile.
Keep cortisol levels under control.
Maintain good sleep hygiene.
Take the right supplements as prescribed by dietician.

Visceral fat and its ties to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases has been called metabolic obesity in contrast with weight-based obesity. Visceral fat is a consequence of eating more fat than your body actually needs, from fat calories. Visceral fat may pose inner dangers. Subcutaneous fat indicates your clothing size. There are several methods of testing visceral fat – others more accurate than some. Speak to a health practitioner if you are concerned about visceral fat.

Reducing fat or lowering carbohydrate consumption will help reduce, at least subcutaneous fat as a lifestyle approach. Never do both! As a low-carb approach, you can eat fat and protein as energy sources. It doesn’t mean you can eat bacon, sausages, and pounds of meat daily. You still need to calibrate your fat consumption responsibly – getting all your required calories from diversified fat sources and protein. Tour body can compensate for the carb co-factors by producing them itself.

Fat, like carbohydrates, translates into energy. Provided you have no existing health issues, dietary fat kept at around 70 to 80 grams daily – with normal movement – may help manage your subcutaneous fat issues, if you have any. Excessive dietary fat loss is very complicated but fat is essential for energy production.

Dietary fat and losing stored subcutaneous (and visceral) fats requires consuming about 80% of fat calories. It’s quixotic to what we learned. Can eating butter responsibly make you skinny? Analyzing dietary fat helps develop a healthy strategy.

Microwave popcorn facing death sentence trans-fats

You’re walking on a dark, lonely street. From the corner of your eye, you notice the shadow of a tall silhouette that is somewhat familiar. You see a lit cigarette dangling from his mouth. He says, “Good evening. I just made some microwave popcorn. Would you like some?” You turn and answer, “No! The FDA says it’s dangerous. Do you have a cigarette instead?”

There are many choices that can be dangerous or beneficial to your health and well-being. The choices are often yours. Per FDA dietary recommendations, microwave popcorn is facing a death sentence on account of Tans-Fats. The 2013 declaration helped remove Trans-Fats from most packaged foods by 2014. Small amounts still come in as zero.

Perhaps one of the biggest boosts to microwave oven sales was the development of microwave popcorn but, in 2013, the Federal Food and Drug Administration or FDA banned trans-fats which is one of the ingredients found in microwaveable popcorn.

While Trans-Fats occur naturally in meats, the popcorn Trans-fats are hydrogenated oils (hydrogen added to oil).

Most vegetable oils, as natural liquids, provide fat in healthier forms as mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats. Using unsaturated fats when fats are necessary, is dietary responsible. Hydrogenated fat is oil converted to a solid, spreadable form. It’s like lard, only sourced from vegetables instead of animals. In many countries, lard is used as a bread spread.

Dairy and beef fat typically contains around 3-6% Trans-Fat (% of total fat) and levels in mutton and lamb can be somewhat higher. TFA levels in vegetable oils and liquid margarines are around 1%. Soft yellow fat spreads typically have between 1% and 17% TFAs, while harder stick margarines have higher levels. The Trans-Fat content of bakery products (rusks, crackers, pies, biscuits, wafers etc.) vary from below 1% up to 30% of total fatty acids. Some breakfast cereal with added fat, French fries, soup powders and some sweet and snack products have been shown to contain high TFA levels (20-40% of total fatty acids).

So Trans-Fats are part of most foods you’re likely to eat. Many State and Cities have set legislation to eliminate the sale of food with trans-fats. Some, though, allow certain amounts of trans-fats, such as 0.5 grams per serving and (if less than that) it does not show on the nutrition panel but must be listed as an ingredient.

Compared to most foods, the amount of hydrogenated oils in microwave popcorn, when eaten responsibly as a few servings, aren’t going to rock the boat for health and obesity issues among those who are generally healthy.

Trans-Fats and all fats add to food calorie content. Fats and carbohydrates contribute to the number of calories in the stuff you choose to eat. With focus on calories and legislation for chain restaurants to post calories in product servings, attention should be given to caloric values and where those calories might come from. You really don’t want too many empty calories of only fats and carbohydrates, as found in many foods. Try to seek out foods that offer nutrition and protein that your body also needs.

A lunch–portion salad may have 1,000 calories or a Chipotle vegetable burrito has about 1200 calories. A 16-ounce bottle of Coca Cola is 200 calories, mostly from carbohydrates. A cup of one of Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha has 470 calories per 16-ounce portion. There are 15 grams of protein derived from milk but you’re also consuming 18 grams of fat (mostly saturated) and about 60 grams of carbohydrates. There are also 50 grams of cholesterol.

A can of tuna fish, 6-ounces packed in water, has 179 calories and 1 gram of fat. It also has 39 grams of protein and about 12% daily requirement of iron. There are 0 carbohydrates. About 40 grams are cholesterol. A 16-ounce bottle of water adds 0 calories.

What would you rather eat for lunch or as a snack?

How many calories you need to consume each day depends on age and level of activity. Size/Weight and general health are also variables.

The problem with controlling fat and consuming foods with Trans-Fats, is that (along with carbohydrates) they add delicious taste to foods. They are addicting and have been essential parts of diets for thousands of years.

The focus on Trans-Fats and popcorn is a provocative topic because popcorn is a very popular snack. The kill factor of an overdose of Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha or a Chipotle Burrito is somewhat greater than a bag (5 servings) of Light Microwave Popcorn, with approximately 2.4 grams of Trans-Fats (rated 0 gram per serving).

Is microwave popcorn bad for you? When you examine all the foods in your diet and what you like, you’d be surprised to discover the hidden dangers in foods.

While air-popped popcorn may be healthier, once you top them with butter or margarine, topped popped popcorn are trans-fat dangerous. Trans-Fats add calories, saturated fat while popcorn adds carbs and little nutritive value. It does taste good, though.

Compared to potato and corn chips, popcorn is a better snack for watching movies and TV. Be more self-conscious about the foods you eat and your calorie qualities. The lesson is not to overindulge and try to walk around the block every couple hours. Then, would you like some cake?

The FDA concern about the quantities of Trans-Fats and calories in food is a very good alert. Yet, when alcohol and illicit recreational drugs were banned, people still found ways to get it. Certain foods with Trans-Fats appeal to many people. They will continue to find their fixes as needed. Often, the deadliest menace to your health is your weakness to make responsible choices.