Fats - The good, the Bad and the Ugly

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 width= When you hear the word fat do you associate it with bad health? If you do, then you decided to make a left turn at the fork in the road when you should have veered right. Let’s retrace our steps and discover why fats should be associated with good health. Although there is some truth to your thought process, some fats are needed to where other fats need to be discarded.  Here is some science about good and bad fats. Fats, which tend to be widely over-looked, help with nutrient absorption (vitamins such as A, D, E, and K), nerve transmission, and maintaining cell membrane integrity. They provide raw materials for synthesis of many compounds and are crucial for providing EFA (essential fatty acids) that the body cannot produce on its own. These fats provide the body with energy during endurance exercise, in between meals, and in times of starvation. They are, furthermore, the indispensable constituent of cell membranes. You have to understand that the body needs a supply of polyunsaturated fats to assist in assembling cell membranes that are strong, functional and elastic. Fat also provides a great service by keeping hormone levels in check and regulate blood-glucose levels and insulin response.  However, when consumed in excess amount, fats contribute to weight gain and heart disease. Fats are not created equal to where some fats promote our health positively while others increase our risks of heart disease. The main objective here is to replace bad fats with good fats in our diet. Unsaturated fats (good fats) decrease the risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats lower total cholesterol as wells as LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), while increasing HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). These fats are mainly found in vegetable oils, salad dressings and various margarines made from vegetable oils. They can be found in avocadoes, various seed and nuts as well as fish, such as salmon. Another good fat, mainly associated with fish, are the Omega 3/6/9 fatty acids. The Omegas play an important role in improving mood, vision, skin, recovery, immune system function, and joint health. The bad fats consist of saturated fats and Trans fats. These fats raise total blood cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol. Trans fats were actually invented by scientists who began to "hydrogenate" liquid oils for foods to have a longer shelf life. An overindulgence of bad fats will inevitably result in poor health, unwanted body fat, and a greater risk of heart disease. The transition to healthy fats will not only help you reach your goals, but also improve brain function! That being said, 20 percent of you caloric intake should be made up of healthy fats (30 percent would be the upper threshold before becoming unhealthy). Since the body is constantly repairing itself from cellular damage, these fats are imperative for repair.  If there lays a deficiency in good fats, the body starts to use saturated fat for the production/repair of new cells which will in turn lead to the outnumbering of saturated fat to unsaturated reserves. This will unavoidably lead to many cardiovascular troubles.   Vincent Russo, 25 years old from Kenilworth NJ. Has a BA in Biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison NJ. A Bodybuilding.com Team Athlete, Silver Model, High School Football Coach, Substitute Teacher, Waiter/bartender. Was a top 5 finalist out of 500 guys for bodybuilding.com‘s 2012 BodySpace Spokes Model.  Compete in the Men’s Physique category where in recent competitions placed 2nd in NPC East Coasts (Nov. 2011), and 3rd in Bodybuilding.com‘s BodySpace Spokes model competition (LA Fit Expo 2012).