Learning about fats

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 01, 2013

Fats are made of fatty acids and glycerol, and are needed for both growth and energy. The body uses fat for synthesizing several hormones as well. As the fats are metabolized slowly they are the slowest source of energy but provide a lot of energy. One gram of fat gives about 9 calories almost double the amount given by proteins or carbohydrates.


Body stores excess fats and even proteins and carbohydrates as fats---as fats are a very efficient form of energy when needed. Excess fat is stored in the abdomen (omental fat), under the skin (subcutaneous fat), and even blood vessels. The fat deposited in the blood vessels and within organs, can block blood flow and cause serious diseases like heart attack or stroke.


Kinds of Fat: The different kinds of fat are--monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats. The saturated fats increase the level of bad cholesterol in the blood.


Foods derived from animals are rich in saturated fats. Fats derived from plants contain more of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids. But even vegetable oils if used in excess can cause increase in levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.


Trans-fats (trans fatty acids) are man-made fat. They are derived by adding hydrogen atoms (hydrogenation) to monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids. The trans fats increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and the risk of atherosclerosis.


Fat in the Diet


According to experts fats must be limited in the diet. They should provide less than 30% of daily total calories needed by you---and saturated fats and trans fats should not be more than 10%. Use of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, must be preferred.


If your cholesterol levels are high you may need to further cut down on your fat intake.


Good Fats in the diet


Use of foods that contain good fats can help boost your health. Foods that contain good fats include

  • Fish and other seafood like salmon, prawns
  • Dry fruits like walnuts, pecans, and almonds
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Vegetable oils such as canola, olive, soybean, corn, sunflower, and safflower 

While fats need to be avoided they should not be avoided altogether. Fats can not be completely eliminated from your diet as they are needed for several important functions in the body. Eat foods rich in fats in moderation to boost your health.



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