fats are fuel (and other uses)
I am sure you have either tried a low - fat diet, seen low fat or no fat food, heard of the ills of fat consumption and other things like that in the media. But I know that you have enjoyed extra cheese pizza, ice- cream, yogurt and mixed nuts too (I’m keeping it real, that’s some good stuff!) The truth is fat is essential for the body! Yes, we need fat to be healthy.
Lipids are a category of compounds that include triglycerides, sterols and phospholipids. Triglycerides and phospholipids are made from fatty acids. Triglycerides (called fat) is the most common lipid found in food and the body. Triglycerides are stored in adipose tissue and provides energy.
Phospholipids are found in the cell making up the phospholipid bilayer in cell membranes. This bilayer helps to protect the cell. It lets certain substances in the cells but helps to keep other substances from leaving the cell. The liver makes phospholipids.
Sterols don’t contain fatty acids and don’t provide energy. Cholesterol is one of the most commonly known sterols. It is found in every cell of the body. It helps with cell structure making the cell walls firm. Cholesterol also helps in the formation of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. The liver uses it to make bile. The liver makes cholesterol and will regulate how much is made by how much cholesterol is consumed.
Essentials of fat and cholesterol
How much fat should I eat?
Now that you know how essential fat and cholesterol is for the body don’t run out and eat up tons of fatty foods! There are good and bad sources of fat. Foods that are low in saturated fats are best. Vegetable oils like soybean, olive and canola oil are good sources. Avacados, almonds, walnuts and flaxseeds are good, too. Dairy products and fatty meats are high in saturated fats so limit those or use low fat versions. Your body makes its own cholesterol so limit the amount of cholesterol intake.
It is recommended that you get 20-35% of calories from fat. Remember 1g of fat has 9 calories. 1gram of carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories each. Fat has more calories, so it adds up more quickly. Calories are important. Moderation is key. Don’t worry I’m not telling you to stop eating cheesy pizza, yummy ice cream and other things! Those are lovely treats to have a few times a month!
I hope you were educated and enlightened on the essentials of fat. It is awesome how God designed our bodies as working machines and how food is used to fuel it. Don’t forget to sign up for blog post updates. Please share, comment, like and follow Loves Way Health! Love ya!
Blake, JS, Munoz, KD, Volpe, S. Nutrition: from Science to You. second ed. Boston, MA: Pearson; 2014.
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