While your body requires some fats to function properly, not all fats are created equal. Some kinds of fat, particularly saturated and trans fats, can be bad for your health. Fatty foods are usually high in these unhealthy fats. For optimal health, exclude foods that contain unhealthy fats from your diet.
Raise Your Susceptibility to Heart Disease
Eating fat-rich foods multiplies your risk for heart disease. This is because foods high in trans and saturated fats and cholesterol raise your bad low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol. Unhealthy levels of LDL cholesterol allow plaque to build up in your coronary arteries, which provide your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood. Over time, the plaque can harden and narrow your coronary arteries, interrupting the blood flow to your heart. This can lead to a heart attack, which can further cause serious health problems or even death. For heart health, avoid foods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, processed meats, french fries, doughnuts, stick or hard margarine and palm oil.
Lead to Weight Gain
An animal study reported by Wake Forest University School of Medicine in June 2006 showed that trans fat redistributes fat tissue into the abdomen, leading to a higher body weight even when the total calories are kept in check. In the study, monkeys fed a diet containing trans fat experienced an increase in their body weight by 7.2 percent, while monkeys that ate monounsaturated fats had a 1.8 percent increase. The monkeys were given the same amount of total calories, with fats accounting for 35 percent of the intake. The results led the researchers to conclude that consumption of trans fat increases weight gain. Eating foods high in monounsaturated fats, such as sunflower oil, canola oil and olive oil, can help promote healthy cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease, states the American Heart Association.
Make You Insulin-Resistant
Insulin resistance refers to a condition in which your body makes insulin but is unable to use it effectively. When you have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in your blood instead of being taken in by your cells and leads to diabetes. According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, experts consider obesity, particularly extra fat around waist, to be the primary cause of insulin resistance. Excess fat cells around your abdomen produce hormones and other substances that can lead to serious health issues such as insulin resistance. Scientists have discovered that interactions in adipose tissue attract cells of your immune system to the region and fuel chronic inflammation, favoring the development of insulin resistance. Losing weight by cutting fat and calorie intake can help reverse insulin resistance.
Raise Your Cancer Risk
Research suggests that eating trans and saturated fats on a regular basis may increase your risk for a variety of cancers, including prostate, colon and rectum cancers, notes the Colorado State University Extension. The fat content in meat may stimulate the generation of secondary compounds in your body that play a role in causing cancer. Fat intake should contribute no more than 30 percent to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake, with saturated fats accounting for no more that 7 percent to 10 percent.
- WomensHealth.gov: Fats
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: What Is Coronary Heart Disease?
- Science Daily: Trans Fat Leads To Weight Gain Even On Same Total Calories, Animal Study Shows
- American Heart Association: Monounsaturated Fats
- National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes
- Colorado State University Extension: Diet and Cancer Prevention