Fat has long been hated by many and loved by few. It has been linked to low self-esteem, poor body image and of course health issues. However, this should not be the reputation for all fats. There are good fats out there that are an essential part of a healthy diet. They keep our skin soft, deliver fat-soluble vitamins, and are a great source of energizing fuel (double that of a carbohydrate or protein).
There are two main types of dietary fats: saturated and unsaturated. In general, unsaturated fats are healthier than saturated or trans fats. Saturated fats are associated with health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and obesity. These are the fats that should maintain the current stigma and be avoided. Dietary sources of saturated fats include items like red meat, commercially baked goods, solid fats such as butter or shortening, and fried foods.
Healthy unsaturated fats are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. These fats, which are found in foods such as olive or flaxseed oil, nut butters and avocados, may help to decrease your risk of diabetes, CVD and diabetes. An optimized ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 also has been found to help with conditions such as neurodegenerative, inflammatory, allergic, and skin diseases.
Research shows that variation in the FTO gene can impact your body’s response to saturated and unsaturated fats. The FTO gene also impacts weight management and body composition. Its role in the body is related to metabolic rate, energy expenditure and energy balance helping to make your weight management goals much more attainable.
If you are interested in learning how your genes are affecting your weight management goals, talk to your healthcare professional. You can also find some delicious recipes rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats at the recipe hub.
- Rizzo A. A rapid method for determining arachidonic:eicosapentaenoic acid ratios in whole blood lipids: correlation with erythrocyte membrane ratios and validation in a large Italian population of various ages and pathologies Lipids in Health and Disease. 2010;9(7):1-8 (read more)