Considering how often we worry about it, a lot of people don’t really understand what fat is, which makes it harder to get rid of it, and means also that we can become deficient in the kinds of fat that our body does need.
When we talk about fat we are really talking about two different things: fat the nutrient; crucial to good health and fat the excess of tissue which can threaten our health.
A Bit Of Science:
At room temperature, fats may be present in either liquid of solid form, this depends on their structure and composition. We tend to refer to fats which are liquid at room temperature as oils. Fats which are solid at room temperature are generally called fats.
Different categories of fat:
We often hear various terms banded about like ‘saturated’ and ‘unsaturated’ but few people really understand what that means. So, what is ‘saturated fat’ saturated with? The answer is hydrogen atoms. Simply put, the fat molecule is full – it cannot combine with anything else because it is completed by hydrogen atoms. Foods with a lot of saturated fat are meat, cakes, biscuits, crisps etc.
There are two types of unsaturated fat. Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fat only has room for one hydrogen atom, so it can combine with other monounsaturated fat and it becomes saturated. Examples of monounsaturated foods are lives, avocados and ground nut oil.
Polyunsaturated Fat: (Poly meaning many)has lots of spaces for hydrogen atoms,. You can find this sort of fat in oily fish and sunflower oil.
Trans fat: Finally there are trans fats. These have been synthetically created and can be saturated or unsaturated – either way, they are not good for your health. Doughnuts, pizza and fast food like french fries are loaded with trans fats as it is the cheapest form of fat.
So, Which Ones Are Bad For You?
It is a generally accepted truth that as well as trans fats, saturated fats are bad for your health. This is because they cannot combine with anything (as their hydrogen quota is full)so they tend to build up into solid walls, clogging arteries which causes heart problems. However, even saturated fats have their uses. They help build the main body of our cells and they aid the immune system helping you to use good fats like omega-3 and even help calcium to be properly absorbed into the skeletal system. Even cholesterol which has been lumped with saturated fats as being something that is ‘bad for you’ has health benefits. When your blood vessels are damaged by free radicals or viruses, it is cholesterol that repairs them. Cholesterol is also required to properly absorb vitamin D.
Polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 which has lots of health benefits.
And finally – Body Fat:
Body fat is a compound comprise of glycerol – a substance formed in fatty acids – an d fatty acids which are required as a concentrated energy source for our muscles. Fat is a storage substance for the body’s extra calories and fills fat cells that help insulate the body. We the body has used up the calories from carbohydrates, it begins to depend on the calories from fat. So there is a definite use for body fat.
Oils that you may need are available on the G&G website