Fat in Indian Foods

Fat in Indian Foods & Daily Recommendations

Fat is an important component of diet, imparting palatability to the diet and serving various functions in the body. Fats carry fat-soluble vitamins; vitamin A, D, E, and K. They also provide essential fatty acids, which cannot be synthesized by the body and therefore must be supplied from food. Fats are high source of energy, as each gram of fat provides 9.3 calories, which is more than twice the energy furnished by either protein or carbohydrate. Most of the fat in Indian foods comes from deep-frying, especially Indian snacks and sweets. Some curries made from paneer may also have rich amounts of added cream and butter. The main sources of fat in Indian diets are vegetable oils, ghee and occasional use of vanaspati/ hydrogenated oil and butter.

Types of Fat

Fat in the diet can be of two kinds, visible fat, and invisible fat. The visible fat are those derived from vegetable sources like vegetable oils, nuts, and seed oil, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and from animal sources like butter and ghee. Most of the fats from animal sources are saturated fats. Animal fats are source of vitamin A and D, which are not in vegetable oils. They also contain a fair amount of cholesterol; therefore, use them rationally. Vegetable oils, on the other hand, are unsaturated oils with the exception of coconut oil and palm oil. These oils contain vitamin E, which protects the oil from oxidation.

Daily Recommendations

Indian diets contain 10 to 15 g invisible fat, which comes from cereals, pulses, milk, and curd .This with the 15 to 25 g of visible fat amount that would meet essential fatty acid requirement for all ages, and would provide for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. To avoid the undesirable effects of excess fat, visible fats in the diet, such as ghee, butter, or oil, should be less than 50 g per day.

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