The Importance Of Fats In Everyday Nutrition

fats, essential fatt acids

Now people, first to explain a little something about fats and their role in our body.

10% of human body mass are fats, and are important part of any human nutrition. In our body fats can be observed as storage fat and as tissue fat. Like carbs, fats serve as energy source, but more stable one, primarily used for functional needs during feasting periods or dieting.

Other use of fats in our body is protective in nature. Some of the fats are stored around our organs and under the skin where they serve as a regulator of body temperature and as a kind of “airbag” to protect our joints, bones and internal organs from taking damage. Also, metabolic and nervous systems all depend on the consumption of good fats. So, to maintain our good health we need certain amount of fat in our system.

sardines

Insufficient fat intake can lead to a great deal of problems. On the other side, too much of it will make you obese. Note that fats are derived from excessive carbs and unused amino acids too. Balance is crucial when it comes to fats, if for nothing else then for its high energy value – opposed to protein and carbohydrates that release 4 calories per gram, fats release 9 calories…

Fats are essential macronutrient for our organism. Unlike carbs, they are responsible for hormonal balance. We can live without carbs, but wouldn’t make it far without fats, and proteins for that matter.

But, the nutritional value of fats can’t be observed strictly through the energy value they have, but also by their chemical composition ( ups, why that chemistry again?).

Fatty Acids

Fats we consume are the source of fatty acids. Most of them body can produce on its own, but some can’t be synthesized in our organism, so should be taken on an everyday basis trough good diet – that’s why we call them essential fatty acids. Thing to remember is that those essential fatty acids help in recovery and in minimizing muscle soreness also, amongst other things.

Fats are commonly classified as saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.

 We need both of them, but some are good and the other are very bad.

“Good” fats are biologically active and they are essential for healthy life. Our internal endocrine system depends on the good fatty acids, they are necessary for optimal organ functions, for regulating normal iron activity in our bloodstream, for health of our blood vessels, and many other profound functions.

The bad guys here are saturated fats. They only serve as an energy source and are biologically passive. Furthermore, these fats are commonly connected with heart and blood vessel conditions and diseases. Today it’s literally impossible not to consume saturated fats, but we should strive to limit their intake through food.

Saturated fats promote the production of cholesterol, substance naturally produced in liver, and found in some types of food. That doesn’t mean we should avoid food rich in cholesterol, but only to keep it under control, because the quantity of cholesterol naturally produced is enough for the body to use it right.

Another term when dealing with fatty acids are so called “trans” fats. They are unsaturated in origin, but with slightly different chemical structure. That makes them behave like saturated fats in our organism and therefore can cause all the problems mentioned above. Fried foods, fast foods, sweets, chips, butter and other similar products are the most used known sources of such fats.

fast food

Short Classification Of Fats

Saturated fats

– animal origin – butter, cream, pork fat, bacon fat, eggs

– plant origin – palm and coconut oil

They are stable at higher temperatures and are therefore most suitable for food preparation.

 Monounsaturated fats

– olive oil, avocado, nuts, peanuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower oil.

They are less stable and are suitable for heating to medium high temperatures.

Polyunsaturated fats

– corn oil, soybean oil, flaxseed oil –

Not suitable for heating.

tuna steak

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are actually polyunsaturated fats. They are essential for human organism and we have to consume them through some food because our body can’t synthesize them by itself. That’s why they are called essential fats. In the past, when people consumed only natural food, omega 3: omega 6 ratio was 1: 1 and so should be today. However, today this ratio is more like 1:20 in favor of omega-6. The reason for that is in increased consumption of vegetable oils, margarine and cereals over the past decades. Consequences are chronic inflammatory conditions and vascular diseases. Omega-3 rich food is: fish (salmon, sardines), mushrooms, nuts and olive oil.

In general fats are healthy and necessary in human nutrition. Without them, the body could not receive all the nutrients needed. They provide endurance, energy and give us the feeling of satiety. Natural fats are not harmful to health and do not cause obesity. They also dissolve vitamins A, D, E and K. Omega 3 fatty acids are also good for our cardiovascular health.

So, be aware of the benefits good fats provide to your health. Fats are needed to boost your metabolism, protect your body’s essential functions and your overall health.