Labeled as unhealthy, experts advised against the consumption of fat for a long time. However, numerous studies have already shown that fat has many positive effects on our body and brain and can also be used as an energy source. Because of that I will explain to you what fat is for and what sources you should use for fats in the last article in the macronutrient series.
What is fat?
Fats are an important energy source for our body. With approximately 9 kcal per gram, they have the highest calorific value of the three
macronutrients, that’s about twice as much as a gram of protein or
carbohydrates. We distinguishes between saturated and unsaturated
fatty acids. While our body can produce its own saturated fat,
unsaturated fatty acids must be supplied through your diet.
Fat is carries flavour and also makes you feel saturated longer after a meal. Also, fat provides a protective function for the human body by serving to maintain heat and protect the internal organs. In addition, our body needs fatty acids to build up hormones and cell walls, for the metabolism and elasticity of cell membranes. Lastly, some vitamins (A, D, E, K) are liposoluble and thus can only be absorbed by consuming fat.
Saturated fats are found, for example, in meat or dairy products. However, since the human body can produce them on their own, I will focus on unsaturated fats that need to be consumed via your diet (but that does not mean that you should only consume unsaturated fatty acids in your diet).
These are divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The former are found mainly in plant based oils and have a positive effect on the cholesterol level.
Polyunsaturated fats are also referred to as essential fats. Specifically, these are the fats that the body can not produce itself. They are further divided into omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found, for example, in cold-water fish such as salmon or tuna and certain plant based oils such as rapeseed or linseed oil.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found mainly in pumpkin seed or sunflower oil, in egg yolk or in walnuts.
As you know, fat has many positive effects on our body. However, it is important to mention, that excessive consumption of fat increases the risk of certain diseases, such as arteriosclerosis. There are numerous recommendations on how much fat you should actually consume (which also depending on your diet). Peronally, I try to consume between 0.5-1.0g fat per kg of body weight or 30% of my necessary amount of energy.
Do you have further questions about fat or the effects of this macronutrient? Let me know in the comments!
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