Fat is bad, fat make you fat. Don’t eat fat, eat carbs… you hear all these almost every day. Don’t you? There’s a lot of marketing gimmick in that and some myth as extra topping to add flavor. The truth about fats is far more complex that what you actually think. Fat is not always bad. Fat will not necessarily make you fat. Confused? Here are 30 fat facts that you and everyone else should know. These fat facts will help you gain a better understanding of this complex substance and how it affects your health. So, don’t be blind and make informed decisions.
Fat Facts: 1-5
1. Fat is basically a compound. It is a type of energy that our body needs. Our body utilizes three different types of energies. The other two are proteins and carbohydrates.
2. Fat can stay in both solid and liquid form at room temperature. That stay liquid at room temperature are called ‘oil’ while those that stay solid at room temperature are called ‘fat’.
3. The correct term for both fat and oil is lipid. Lipids are nothing but fat which can be either in liquid form or in solid form.
4. There is a misconception that fat makes a person overweight or obese or fat. In fact, our body cannot function properly without fats. How so? Heard of vitamins A, D, E and K. All these four vitamins are soluble only in fat and the only way our body can absorb, digest and transport these vitamins is when they get dissolved in fat.
5. Talking of becoming fat (obese), you should know that we accumulate fat in our body only when we consume more calories than what our body needs. This means that if we consume a balanced diet, we will not become overweight even if our food contains fat. The additional calories that are stored in our bodies in form of fat can come from both proteins and carbohydrates.
Fat Facts: 6-10
6. Fat contains more calories than protein and carbohydrate. One gram of protein or carbohydrate contains 4 kilocalories. Fat on the other hand contains 9 kilocalories per gram. Since fat contains more calories, eating too much of fat can lead to storage of extra calories in form of fat in our body. This can also happen if we eat too much of protein and/or carbohydrates.
7. Fat is very important for a number of things. For example, it protects our internal organs from external shock. Fat helps to maintain healthy cellular functions. It helps to maintain the temperature of our body. It also helps us to maintain healthy hair and skin.
8. There are different types of fats. There are basically three types – saturated fats, unsaturated fats and trans fats. Unsaturated fats have subcategories – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
9. These fats are broadly categorized as good fats and bad fats. Good fats include both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats while bad fats are saturated and trans fats.
10. Saturated fats usually stay solid at room temperature. They are natural fats that come from plant and animal sources. Monounsaturated fats stay liquid at room temperature but become solid when refrigerated. Polyunsaturated fats stay liquid both at room temperature and when refrigerated. Trans fats rarely occur naturally. They are formed when food is processed. Of all forms of fats, trans fats are worst for health.
Some examples of food that contain good fat and bad fat:
|Sesame oil||Corn oil|
|Olive oil||Sunflower oil|
|Canola oil||Flax seeds|
|Nut butters||Pumpkin seeds|
|Nuts||Trout / Tuna / Salmon|
|Olive||Tofu / Soymilk|
|Saturated Fat||Trans Fat|
|Doughnuts, pastries, pies||Fried food|
|Dairy products like butter and milk, cream, cheese etc.||Candy bars|
|Red meat like pork, lamb, beef etc.||Chips|
Fat Facts: 11-15
11. You must have heard quite a lot about Omega-3 and Omega-6, right? These are basically fats and they are good fats. To be more specific, they are polyunsaturated fats. Omega-3 is found in sources like salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel, oils etc. Omega-6 is usually found in corn oil, sunflower and safflower oil and nuts like pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts and more.
12. If we speak a more technical language, then Omega-3 and Omega-6 are known as fatty acids. They are essential fatty acids which our body needs but cannot produce on its own. Hence, they must be taken from food sources.
13. These two essential fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid, i.e. Omega-3 and linolenic acid, i.e. Omega-6) have a wide range of functions in our bodies. They maintain cellular function, affect inflammation, affect behavior and mood, affect cellular signaling and more.
14. Alpha-linolenic acid is not the only type of Omega-3 fatty acid. There are two other types – DHA and EPA. DHA stands for docosahexanoic acid while EPA stands for eicosapentanoic acid.
15. Both DHA and EPA are extremely important because they help in development of brain in children.