Oils: Confusion and Reality

Oils: Confusion and Reality:

Very recently all the national newspapers carried big coverage on Trans fats and showed the trans fat contents of all the major brands of oils. But are oils really good for the heart! Do they also form part of the deposits in the heart? What are these Trans fats or Omega 3 fats or MUFA/PUFA fats?

Let us go to the basics first

Scientifically speaking all the foods in the world are composed of seven categories of food groups carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. The first three will give us calories or energy (calorie giving foods) and the last four have no calories. Carbohydrates are cereals, sugar, fruits, and vegetables. They form the majority of our foods and should supply about 70% of our calorie requirements. Proteins are made from Amino Acids and help to make our muscles and enzymes. They are basically present in pulses (dals), and animal foods like meats, fish, poultry, and milk. Proteins should contribute to 20% of our calorie requirements. The rest 10% of our calories should come from fats after adulthood.

Of all the fats that we consume 99% is made up of triglycerides. They are one of the major contributors to the blockages along with cholesterol. Triglycerides are composed of one glycerol and 3 fatty acid chains. These fatty acids can be of different sizes and varieties. Fatty acids are basically a chain of carbon with hydrogens attached to it. In a chain, a carbon atom can only bind with two hydrogen atoms. In such case if one fatty acid has 20 carbons there will be a place for 40 hydrogen atoms. If all the hydrogen is available it is called Saturated Fatty Acid. On the other hand, if 39 hydrogens are present the triglyceride will be Mono-unsaturated and if 37 or 38 are present they are called Polyunsaturated. But if you see the basic remains the same SFA (Saturated Fatty Acid), MUFA (Monounsaturated fatty acid), or PUFA (Polyunsaturated fatty acid), all are going to create triglycerides and all are almost equally bad. MUFA and PUFA are a little better than SFA.

My suggestion to all heart patients is to avoid all kinds of oil as our body requirements will automatically come from invisible fats present in every food that nature has for us. No additional oils are required for adults who do not grow in height.