Fat. Some people find the word terrifying and try to avoid it at all costs.
Others find it mouth-watering and just can’t resist.
Fat is an important part of our diet no matter how you frame it. Here are a ten fat facts you should know.
1. There are Four Types
Saturated, trans, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are the four types of dietary fat. They all behave differently in the body.
While there is a good deal of conflict around which fats are healthy and which ones aren’t, everyone seems to agree that transfats are rightly vilified.
2. Most Transfat is Artificial
People have been eating transfat for a long time in very small amounts. It shows up in natural products like dairy and some meats.
Most of the transfat consumed today though, is made through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oils.
3. Monounsaturated Fat Improves Blood Cholesterol
Generally considered a healthy fat, monounsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature.
It helps to lower your LDL, which is considered “bad” cholesterol by mainstream dietitians (many in the paleo community disagree).
Lower LDL is correlated with a lower chance of cardiac disease and stroke.
4. Polyunsaturated Fat Reduces Your Chance of Diabetes
Found in some plant and some animal foods, polyunsaturated fat is also generally considered healthy.
It lowers your LDL, and when eaten in place of transfat or saturated fats, is linked to improved insulin sensitivity and a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes.
5. Omega 3s are Polyunsaturated
Omega 3s are considered an essential fatty acid. Your body needs it and cannot produce it on its own.
It reduces the risk of heart arrhythmia, slows the buildup of plaque in your arteries, and slightly lowers your blood pressure.
You can get omega 3s is fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts.
6. It Has 9 Calorie Per Gram
Do you know that carbohydrates and proteins have the same amount of calories per gram?
That’s 4 kcal/gram. Fat is more than double that, clocking in at 9 calories per gram.
This is why people have been concerned about fat intake while trying to remain a healthy weight.
7. Fats Carry Some Vitamins
There are some vitamins that are fat soluble and are transported by fat.
This includes vitamins A, E, D, and K. Taking these vitamins with dietary fat will support the absorption of them by the intestines, making them more bioavailable.
8. Fat Helps Clot Blood
An increase in the amount of dietary fat you consume can cause an increase in blood-clotting factors produced by your platelets (a part of your blood).
While clotting is an important function in the body that keeps us from bleeding out, overactive platelets are linked to coronary disease.
9. Dietary Fat Effects the Cell
You might remember learning the different organelles in science class as a kid. One of them was the endoplasmic reticulum.
It takes part in synthesizing fats and proteins. Saturated fat has been shown to make the ER membrane stiff, which is bad for the cell.
10. Fat is Flavor
We cook in fat for a reason. It imparts a massive hit of flavor into our food, and changes the way that other flavors taste to us.
It is even responsible for some of the textures we enjoy most in our food, like creamy and crispy.
Fat will likely remain a contentious issue for as long as diet science isn’t settled—and who knows when that will be?
The human body is so complex. Reducing processed foods and eating fatty fish are two steps that most people can agree on to practice healthy fat consumption