What You Need to Know About Hidden Fat
Most people are surprised to learn that fat has some virtues. Fats perform many culinary functions during food preparation and also provide energy and aid the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Also, fat become part of cell membranes. Healthy fats such as the polyunsaturated omega-3 fats is of great health importance which helps decrease the risk of cardiovascular and some metabolic diseases.
Only when people consume either too much or too little fat, or too much of some kinds of fat, does poor health develop. It is true, though, that in our society of abundance, people are likely to consume too much fat. Fats are of high importance to the body as the chief concentrated storage form of energy and of the three nutrients that provide energy, fats contribute most toward energy intake, as each gram provides more than twice the calories provided by a gram of carbohydrate or protein. There are two basic forms of fat as food intake is considered and these are hidden fats and obvious fat. Obvious fats are those that are visible or can be added to foods, such as lard, margarine, shortening, cooking oils, butter, olive oil salad dressing, the firm, white fat on steak and bacon or the soft fat on chicken. The intake of obvious fat can be controlled in the diet by either decreasing or increasing from its related food sources such as meat and cooking oil. One can use small amount of healthy oils such as olive oil or canola oil instead of butter or margarine for cooking. On the other hand, the fat in some foods is visible: butter on bread, mayonnaise in potato salad, and marbling in raw meat. In many foods, however, fat is hidden, as is the fat in whole milk, cheese, pastries, cookies, cake, hot dogs, crackers, pies, French fries, and ice cream. These hidden fats can be monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats. Most hidden fat becomes integral part of food during cooking.
The body’s remarkable machinery can cope with many extremes of diet. Both excessive and deficient body fat result from an energy imbalance. When the energy consumed equals the energy expended, a person is in energy balance and body weight is stable. If more energy is taken in than is expended, a person gains weight. If more energy is expended than is taken in, a
person loses weight. Excessive weight gain which results in overweight and obesity is a risk factor for many health risk which includes diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea (abnormal ceasing of breathing during sleep), osteoarthritis, some cancers, gallbladder disease, kidney stones, respiratory problems (including Pickwickian syndrome, a breathing blockage linked with sudden death), and complications in pregnancy and surgery.
Nutrition transition has resulted in food related issues such that most of the foods eaten has become energy dense than nutrient rich. Most of the energy dense foods contain hidden fat which are saturated or trans-fat which is unhealthy and may result in obesity related health challenges. “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison” by Ann Wigmore.
Tips for reducing hidden fat
- Choosing low-fat and fat-free foods, as well as cooking with little or no fat, can help in reducing the intake of both obvious and hidden fats.
- Cooking methods such as baking, broiling or roasting meats can be used instead of frying them will help in reducing the amount of fat consumed.
- Read food label on especially ready-to-eat foods and choose foods with the lowest number of calories.
- Decrease the intake of foods high in sugar.
- Avoid foods with partially hydrogenated, saturated and trans-fat.
Understanding normal and clinical nutrition 8th edition