Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Fats of Life (2)

Along the years of learning about fats,
it's not difficult to see
some widespread misconceptions about fats:

Misconception 1:
Fatty food is bad for health
>While this statement holds true for most of the time,
knowing the average person's intake of fats nowadays
easily exceeds 20% (recommended) of our diet,
fat is actually important for health.
Fat, in physiological perspective, is vital for:
- cell membrane building (ie cellular division)
- brain cells development
- making of hormones
Fatty food (e.g. avocado & coconut) is not necessarily bad,
provided that:
~the total percentage fat intake is controlled at 20%
~the fats are from whole plant food and undamaged
(ie no artificial refinement and no heat treatment).

Misconception 2:
All plant oils are healthy
>Depending on the method of consumption,
plant oil can be very bad,
when it is subject to
chemical processing
(e.g. hydrogenation to generate trans-fats)
high temperature treatment
(e.g. for preservation of oil during manufacturing
and deep frying)

Misconception 3:
Saturated fats are bad for cardiovascular health
> This is also an over-generalised statement.
Long chain saturated fats
which are relatively prominent in animal fats
are bad indeed,
as it's less easily combusted and our body prefer to store it.
Medium chain and short chain saturated fats
which are easily found in some plants
(e.g. coconut milk)
are good for our health,
as they are easily combusted or assimilated
(hence no clogging problem).
These plant-based saturated fats, when taken raw,
also confer medicinal benefits
(if administered appropriately).

Fat, just like cholesterol, comes in both bad and good forms.
So, the solution to fat-related health conditions nowadays
doesn't lie in avoiding fats blindly;
but relies on our ability to differentiate the good and bad oils.

Well regards,
Kee Yew

p/s: I have finished reviewing my students' project report on Fats.. looking forward sharing their great work online =)


{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

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