Many magazines and internet pages write time and time again that fat makes you fat, even though that idea has long been outdated. Let me explain why…
Do we need fat?
Without fat, the human body could not survive, because fat is responsible for several vital body functions like
- Absorption of fat soluable vitams (A, E, D, K)
- Fat is a part of many metabolic reactions
- Fat tissue produces hormones
- Fat is part of cell structures (all cell structures, not only fat cells)
- essential fatty acids
- moreover fat is a energy source and intensifies taste
Essential Fatty Acids?
Fats are made out of fatty acids. One differentiates between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The difference is the chemical bond of the fatty-acid molecule. Unsaturated fatty acids include double bonds- in opposition to saturated fatty acids.
The human body is not able to synthesize some unsaturated fatty acids in the body due to a missing enzyme. But those fatty acids are vital to build cell membranes for example.
The fatty acids that the body can’t synthesize by itself are called essential and have to be ingested. For humans those essential fatty acids are linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3)
As you can see, the body needs fat to survive.
Does fat make you fat?
In studies no connection could be found between the consumption of fat and obesity. Fats bad reputation is probably caused by it’s energy density (which means how many calories are in a gram), which is twice as high as the energy density of carbs or protein and the fact that weight is gained if the calorie intake is higher than the calorie consumption.
Does it make sense to consume diet foods, that are reduced in fat?
Diet foods that are reduced in fat advertise their low calorie content. However, because fat intensifies the taste, to most of these diet foods a big amount of flavor enhancers, salt, sugars or others have been added to keep up the taste and consistency of the original. If you are in doubt, you should always check the label.
Also, studies (e.g. University of Alberta, Canada) have shown, that the amount of fat reduced products is usually bigger than the amount of it’s original counterpart. The reason for that is that fat makes you feel full and satisfied. So if fat is missing, you most likely end up eating a bigger amount of the calorie-reduced product, which will result in a bigger amount of calories than you would’ve had out of the original product.
Which fats are especially healthy?
The composition (means of which fatty acids it’s made up) of the fats plays a big role in it’s health benefits. Essential fatty acids can especially be found in several oils (flax seed, soy bean, sunflowerseed…), in fatty salt water fish (for example herring or salmon) and nuts. Consumption of essential fatty acids has many health benefits, one of which you might not have thought of: positive influence on cardiovascular diseases
I hope this post helped you understand fats better – feel free to share it with your friends and subscribe to my blog for future posts on nutrition.
If you have any nutrition related questions – feel free to contact me and maybe I can include it in one of my next posts