The lovingly named “Fat Chronicles” will be a three part series on fat. I will be looking at it as a nutrient,its uses and what to avoid. This part will be focusing on fat as a nutrient- what it does for us and the different forms.
First of all fat is needed to dissolve certain nutrients, these are vitamins A,D,E and K. Without fat you will not be able to absorb any of them. For example vitamin A is needed for healthy eyesight and immune system, it also assists the functions of many organs in the body. Another example is vitamin K which is an essential vitamin in clotting the blood. Without a healthy amount of fat you may experience such troubles as night blindness, excessive bleeding or a build up of free radicals. Of course fat may not just be the only problem here as a lack of foods containing said vitamins will also cause the above problems.
Fat is also required for such things as an energy source and as insulation. A lack of fat in the diet will result in tiredness, limited performance in activities such as endurance sports and an increased apatite. This is because that fat carries the highest calorie per gram value out of all the macro nutrients (9 calories per gram) therefore fat is the easiest way to receive energy in a diet. A lack of fat will thus mean a lack of energy resulting in the above problems. Fat, as the name suggests, turns straight to fat when it is digested by the body, completely covering our body. So when winter comes the body has that additional layer of fat to insulate itself and keep warm. Seasonal weight will be discussed in a later series so don’t panic if you don’t know what it means.
Thats it for the uses for fat however there is still plenty more to cover in the nutrient category. As many of you will know fat is split into two separate groups. One is saturated fats and the other unsaturated fats. Saturated fats come from animal sources and are perceived to be bad for you while quite the opposite unsaturated fats are perceived to be good for you. But why is that ? Well it comes down to cholesterol- saturated fats are broken down into LDL (low density lipoprotein) which has the ability to penetrate the artery lining and lower blood flow around the body. Leading to such diseases as coronary heart disease and stroke.Unsaturated fats are found in plant sources and are broken down into HDL (high density lipoprotein) which lower cholesterol.
This is part 1 to the fat chronicles and in the following weeks subsequent parts will follow each explaining the wonders and secrets of this seemingly unloved and unwanted nutrient.