Is vet gezond?

Is fat healthy?

When thinking of fatty food, pizza, fries, burgers, but also sweet snacks such as donuts and other types of junk food are quickly thought of. In other words, unhealthy food with a lot of calories. But is this right?

The functions of fat

  • Fat is an important source of energy for your body. Fat contains 9 kcal per gram and therefore provides the most energy (1).
  • They provide the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and are necessary for the absorption of these vitamins in your gut (2).
  • Fats are necessary for building all cells in the body.
  • The fat under your skin keeps the body warm.
  • And there is also a layer of fat around the organs to protect them.

Fat is indeed important!

Good and bad fat

There are saturated and unsaturated fats. Fat in food always consists of a combination of both, but one food contains more unsaturated and the other more saturated fat (3).
Saturated fat is also called the bad fat and is mainly in:

  • fatty meats such as hamburgers;
  • Sweet and savory snacks such as biscuits, cakes and crisps;
  • Full-fat dairy products such as whole milk, full-fat yogurt, 48+ cheese and ice cream;
  • Butter and other hard fats such as coconut oil, palm oil and hard margarine (in a packet) (4).

Saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol in the blood. This substance can stick to the inside of your blood vessels. And when there is too much of this, a narrowing of the blood vessel occurs, so that the blood can no longer flow properly. In the long term, it therefore gives an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (5). But unfortunately you cannot suddenly leave all the saturated fat, since it is in all products with fat. But then what is the solution? And how do you ensure that you don't suddenly walk around with arteriosclerosis in a few years' time that you can't remove with a little cleaning vinegar for the bathroom?

Fortunately, there are also products that mainly contain unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat raises HDL cholesterol in the blood and is therefore called the good fat. HDL, in contrast to LDL, actually drains the cholesterol from your blood vessels. As a result, it will not stick and there will be no arteriosclerosis. Think of it as the cleaning vinegar for your blood vessels.
For this reason, it is recommended to get a maximum of 10% of the fat you consume in a day from saturated fats. This way you ensure that the ratio between LDL and HDL remains good (5).

Unsaturated fat is mainly found in:

  • nuts and peanuts;
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines;
  • Soft fat such as low-fat margarine and margarine in a tub for bread;
  • vegetable oils such as olive oil;
  • liquid shortening and frying fat;
  • But also in products such as avocado and hummus (4).

Fat is therefore certainly necessary for your body to function properly. The recommendation is to get 20 to 40% of the number of calories you eat per day from fat. But beware: get it mainly from unsaturated fat! For saturated fat, the recommendation is less than 10%. So grab that toast with salmon and avocado and enjoy! (3)

1: Nutrition Center. Do you need fat from food for a healthy body? [Internet]. Available from: . [Accessed 3rd October 2022].
2: Vitamin Info. All vitamins and minerals [Internet]. Available from: . [Accessed 3rd October 2022].
3: Nutrition Center. Fats [Internet]. Available from: . [Accessed 3rd October 2022].
4: Nutrition Center. Which fats are unhealthy? [Internet]. Available from: . [Accessed 3rd October 2022].
5: UMC Utrecht. Coconut fat is vegetable fat, so safe fat? [Internet]. Available from: . [Accessed 3rd October 2022].

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