why do we need fats in our body
Why do we need to eat fat? Fat! DonБt be scared of itБб You actually
need it in your diet. б Fat doesn t directly make you fat excess calories make you fat. б ItБs about getting the right balance. Fat has had bad press, to the extent that some foods are designed and marketed as Бfat-freeБ. But it isnБt all bad. In fact, getting some fat from our diet is absolutely vital. In this section, you will find out what fats are, why we need them, what they do for us and where we find them in our foods. Why do we need fat? Virtually all natural foods contain some fat. б It is in foods because both plants and animals use fats as the most economical way to store energy. б It is needed for their growth, development and function when there is a shortage of food supply (or a shortage of sunlight in the case of plants). Certain specific dietary fats have other essential functions. We are much like other animals so we do actually need some fat from our diet to survive. б And while in general, as with most things, too much fat is bad, a certain amount is perfectly compatible with good health. What is fat for? A source of energy Б Our body uses the fat we eat, and fats we make from other nutrients in our bodies, б to provide the energy for most of our life-functions Energy store The extra calories that we consume, but do not need to use immediately, are stored for future use in special fat cells (adipose tissue) Essential fatty acids Б Dietary fats that are essential for growth development and cell functions, but cannot be made by our bodyБs processes Proper functioning of nerves and brain- fats are part of myelin- a fatty material which wraps around our nerve cells so that they can send electrical messages. Our brains contain large amounts of essential fats Maintaining healthy skin and other tissues. б All our body cells need to contain some fats б as essential parts of cell membranes, controlling what goes in and out of our cells Transporting fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K Forming steroid hormones Where do we find fats in our foods?
The fats that we eat in our foods are mostly БtriglyceridesБ. These are made up of 3 (hence БtriБ) fatty acids attached to a glycerol molecule. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products such as meat, cheese, milk, butter, cream and eggs. Did you know? Animals being warm-blooded incorporate some saturated fats into tissues to keep them more solid. б Cold-blooded fish, and plants, however cannot include much saturated fat because they would become too stiff. б However some oils from tropical plants such as palm oil and coconut oil do contain some saturated fats. The main unsaturated fats are monounsaturated, found particularly in foods such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, peanuts and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats are mostly found in plant foods such as nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, and in cold-blooded sea-foods. б In natural foods, they come protected with antioxidant vitamins. There are two main classes polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6. б These include the essential fatty acids. б Oily fish (e. g. herring, salmon and mackerel) is a good source of omega-3, while omega-6 is mainly found in plant foods such as sunflower oil and rapeseed oil. Trans fats can be natural or artificial. They are mostly artificially created through a process known as hydrogenation (which involves heating and chemical structure change). Artificial trans fats are mostly found in fast foods, fried foods and commercial baked products such as cookies and are the most unhealthy fats (even worse than saturated fats! ). Natural trans fats can be found in small amounts in milk and beef, and in quite large concentration in cheese. Now, we understand that we do actually need some fat in our diet for survival and in the end, it is all about getting the amount and the right balance!
Fat has many uses within our bodies which without it, we wouldnвt be alive. All too often you hear another infomercial talking bad about fat again. What they donвt realize is that fat has many powerful uses and without it those infomercialsВ wouldn tВ even be shown. Reason #1 Fat provides us with a huge source of energy. This energy would be almost unattainable eating just protein and carbs alone. Think about it this way, for every gram of fat you eat you get 9 calories of fuel for your body. Carbohydrates and proteins only get 4 calories for every gram that is eaten. Once we expend all of our carbohydrates in our body, fat comes to the rescue as an energy source. Without it our bodies start literally eating themselves and breaking down tissues such as muscle. So fats are essential to providing us with energy to complete our everyday tasks. Reason #2 Fat absorbs vitamins. There are essential vitamins that we need every day that would not be available if we didnвt have fat in our bodies. Vitamins A, S, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins. This means that they get absorbed in fat. Without this source of fat to absorb these vitamins we would not be here right now. Reason #3 Fat provides flavor. Do you ever wonder why you salivate more heavily when around fried foods? This is because our bodies crave fat and need it to survive. Fats give our foods flavor and texture that would otherwise leave us with a bland and dry diet. Reason #4 Fats keep our hunger in check. This is of course assuming you are eating the good kinds of fats and not those that will cause heart failure down the road. When we consume fats they stay in our stomachs longer and therefore give us a sensation of a full stomach. This can prevent us from needless eating which ultimately leads to weight gain.
Have you ever gone on a diet consisting of low fats? If you did I bet you had the worst cravings for fatty foods ever experienced. This is your bodyвs way of telling you it needs more fats to operate at full capacity. Reason #5 Fat keeps us warm. It provides us with our own personal insulation system that prevents us from freezing to death. Of course we now have heated homes so we donвt have to worry about that, but it does keep us warmer overall than our fat deficient friends. Reason #6 Fat provides transportation in the body. Another uncommonly known feature of fat is the fact that it helps build and transport many things in the body. It helps to build hormones such as those that give you pleasurable feelings when eating food. It also helps to transport nutrients across cell membranes. Although this is on a microscopic level it is imperative as a transport unit for our survival. Reason #7 Fats allow us to move. If you did not have fat you wouldnвt be able to move your arms or legs. Fats provide a super conducting highway across your nerve fibers in your body. Your nerve fibers are your communication lines between your body and your brain. Think of them as telephone lines. Youвre trying to call your friend but there is no dial tone. You discover than your telephone wire is cut in several places. This is what happens when fats arenвt around to provide the means for communication travel. Fats provide insulation like cover on these nerve lines to facilitate nerve impulses to and from your brain. Without these communication lines we are nothing more than a thoughtless, motionless, bag of water. These are the top 7 reasons on why we need fat. It is important to remember as well that there is a difference between good and bad fats. Getting the proper dietary fat is not important, itвs mandatory for healthy function and to our very survival.
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