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The Evolving Research on Dietary Fats: What you need to know

Do you know that your body needs fats? Contrary to its bad reputation, dietary fats are important to the body’s development. They provide the necessary nutrients to support cell development and tissue functions. They also support blood flow and normal heart rhythms.

Credit: Valeria Boltneva | Source: Pexels


The misrepresentation of facts and poor understanding regarding the benefits of fats causes confusion. Years of recommendations concerning the amount of calorie intake for specific activities has impacted the population’s fat consumption. Reports on the advantages of low-fat diet to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases influenced the subsequent shift to carbohydrate consumption. Dietary and lifestyle changes affect the people’s food choices. Conflicting information and resultant impact of the shift has caused confusion among the manufacturers, hoteliers, and consumers. Recent research demonstrates complex associations between fats, individual health, and the environment. Studies concur the necessity and significance of dietary fats to a person’s wellness.

Dietary fats play a critical role in facilitating energy and essential body processes. There are different types of fats; saturated fats; transfats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. These fats constitute different chemical properties and structures. Nutritionists talk about the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats in our diets. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are recommended as good fats due to low-risk disease impact. They are present in avocados, vegetable oils and fish. By consuming these sources, the individual gains ‘good’ fats beneficial to the body. Saturated fats and transfats are known as ‘bad’ fats since they cause illness. Saturated fats and transfats present in deep-fried fast foods, cheese, meat, dairy products, pastries, and palm oil are dangerous to a person’s health. They clog the blood vessels and restrict the blood flow to organs. People should be wary of their diet to maintain optimum health.


In the modern era, there is evolving report on the effect of cholesterol levels on an individual’s wellbeing. Everyone is talking about watching their weight. Fats have different impacts on the cholesterol level. The American Heart Association advises the consumption of 7% of saturated fats in diets. This type of fats raises the blood low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. This activity increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Unfortunately, transfats act similarly to saturated fats and even cause more harm by lowering the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Although, they are in small amounts in red meat, they are also present in hydrogenated vegetable oils. Consumers should be careful when purchasing cooking oils to avoid the risks of destroying their health. Health organizations recommend the consumption of unsaturated fat to enrich the blood cholesterol levels. Foods rich in unsaturated fat help reduce the risk of blood clotting, irregular heart rhythms, and hypertension.

Over time, diet has changed radically arising from diversity, industrialization, and globalization. The increase in processed foods to match the growing demand has ignited investment in food manufacture. The westernization has influenced the global community to rely on manufactured foods owing to the adoption of busy lifestyles. Regrettably, the progression has led to rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disorders. Increased consumption of fast foods is adversely impacting the population. Unfortunately, the availability of technologies and information manipulation creates consumer confusion regarding dietary choices. Scientists demonized fat as the main culprit of cardiovascular diseases. Industries replaced fats with refined carbohydrates in production and avoided nutrient-dense sources. The change resulted in increase of NCDs as the population shifted to adopting the new recommendations.

Credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya | Source: Pexels


The perception concerning the relationship between fats and cardiovascular diseases persists in the modern-day. Despite several studies demonstrating no associations between the components, corporations still promote the consumption of low-fat diets to lure consumers into purchasing their products. Nevertheless, various organizations recommend the amount of dietary fat intake necessary for the body’s health. The World Health Organization commends 20-35% fat intake is essential to support critical processes. An individual will acquire adequate fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins to regulate blood pressure and support cell functions. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee limited the consumption of saturated fat to less than 10% of the total energy expenditure. The team believes that saturated fat increases the risk of NCDs. The Institute of Medicine cited the health risk of consuming transfats. The United States Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Globally, nutritionists are recommending dietary guidance to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle. For example, the Mediterranean diet is a food practice that constitutes high-fat amounts. This diet contains fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to enable the person to acquire all the necessary nutrients for body growth and development. There is diversification in dietary guidance as researchers commend low-fat diets in obese populations and high fat foods for underweight individuals. This targeted method seeks to give people control over their health by consuming foods that provide the required amount of nutrients.

Credit: Randy Fath | Source: Unsplash


Fats are essential components of promoting body health. Evidence shows that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats benefit the person by supporting the body's processes. There is a need for scientists to advocate dietary recommendations to counter the misperception regarding fats. Healthy dietary patterns reduce the risk of NCDs by availing the vital nutrients. People can utilize these dietary patterns to identify sources of ‘good’ fats. Governments and the health sector should strive to integrate evidence-based studies and communication to convey information to the public to enable consumers to make the appropriate choices when purchasing food. Ladies and gentlemen, ‘good’ fats are beneficial to one’s health. However, consult nutritionists to develop effective diets that will boost one’s wellness and reduce the risk of acquiring diseases.

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