Fats can be divided into three broad categories namely saturated fatty acids (SFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA).
Earlier it was believed SFA coming from foods like Butter, Clarified butter (ghee), Cream, Egg Yolk and meats elevate bad cholesterol (LDL) that causes heart trouble. As a result these foods were almost banished from the diet, especially use of ghee in cooking. People also went overboard with use of PUFA-6 (coming from vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower, soyabean, cotton seed and corn oil) as it was seen to lower the LDL.
Latest research shows that although PUFA-6 lowers LDL it also lowers the good cholesterol (HDL) that prevents the LDL build up and keeps heart healthy. High levels of PUFA-6 also alter the lipid ratio in the body and is suspected to cause diabetes and arthritis. MUFA found in groundnut oil lowers the LDL cholesterol but doesn’t affect the HDL.
Further research findings reveal that another type of PUFA i.e. PUFA- 3 fatty acid found in fish and its oils, fenugreek seeds and leaves, linseed oil, walnuts, green leafy vegetables, rajma, urad dal and green moong not only lowers the LDL but also elevates the HDL thus protecting damage to the heart. Moreover it has a preventive role to play in diabetes, arthritis and certain cancers. So the safest bet is to either use PUFA-3 as a cooking medium or alternatively use ghee and oil in combination (1/3 of PUFA, MUFA and SFA) with large servings of PUFA 3 rich foods in the daily diet.
Overall all goal should always be to cut total fat content to not more than 30 gms/day since fat gain still remains main cause of heart problems, orthopedic disorders and diabetes.