What Are Fats in Nutrition?

The best way to tell if you are overweight is to take a long, hard look in a full-length mirror. If fat is what you want to lose, don’t be fooled by fast water loss and don’t risk your health.

What are fats?
You have to be nude, and it’s wise to have a second, movable mirror that will allow you to see the buttocks and backs of the thighs in the full-length one. Look at your stomach, hips and thighs. Do you see extra bulges and bumps? Are there flabby places where skin hangs in thick lumps?

Height and weight don’t always tell the whole story. Muscle weighs more than fat, and there is enormous variation in the amount of muscle and fat from person to person. There is also great variation in body water among individuals.

What about fat, and what are fats?

Fat does nothing to help the body breathe and move, but is an ideal way to store energy. Your body takes food molecules and makes three types of fat: (1) triglyceride, (2) lipoprotein and (3) cholesterol.

Triglyceride, a liquid at body temperature, is the main form in which fat is stored in fat cells till needed. When you eat more or less energy than you burn, triglyceride is carried from the liver to the fat cells or from the fat cells to the liver. Although it can exist by itself inside fat or liver cells, it is carried in the blood by the lipoproteins, special transport molecules.

Cholesterol is used to make cell walls, sex hormones and bile. The cholesterol we make in our own body is called endogenous. Fatty foods, especially, increase endogenous cholesterol. Certain foods are high in ready-made or exogenous cholesterol.

This substance increases with aging, but people with an inherited tendency toward obesity start to make too much in infancy. Progressive weight gain causes increased production of endogenous cholesterol. Weight loss, on the other hand, lowers it.

What are saturated fats good for?

Foods containing monounsaturated fats are gaining recognition for their benefits in the fight against heart disease. It is known that saturated fats will raise blood cholesterol, whereas polyunsaturated fats can help to lower cholesterol.

People in Mediterranean countries, with a diet consisting largely of cereals, vegetables and olive oil, have a low incidence of heart disease. Olive oil contains mostly monounsaturated fats.

However, it seems that diets which are very low in fat or which contain mostly polyunsaturated fat will also lower HDL cholesterol. This HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease, and therefore a higher level is beneficial.

Diets containing monounsaturated fats will lower total cholesterol, but will maintain or improve the HDL cholesterol level thus giving a more desirable ratio.

Food sources of monounsaturated fats include avocado, olives, olive oil, and many nuts and seeds. Lean meat contains about equal amounts of monounsaturated and saturated fats.

A healthy diet contains a variety of foods including plenty of cereals, grains, vegetables and fruit, moderate amounts of lean meats and dairy foods, and small amounts of fats, sugars and alcohol.

What are trans fats and how are they made?

Trans fats, or trans-unsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, are a type of unsaturated fats that occur in small amounts in nature but became widely produced industrially from vegetable fats for use in margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods and frying fast food starting in the 1950s ~ According to Wikipedia.

Which fat is hardest to lose?

The human body was programmed to cope with feast and famine. Nature has made every effort to provide us with effective energy storage by giving us a special type of fat tissue called brown fat.

Sources and Citations on Fats