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[ Role of Fats | How does Fat make us Fat? | Hazards of Being Fat | Oil & Water Don't Mix | Cholesterol | Food Sources of Fat ]
We often avoid taking food rich in fats to prevent ourselves from becoming fat. How do fats make us gain weight and lose our slim figures? We try to avoid taking in fats, but fats are definitely an essential part of our diet. In scientific terms, fats are also known as lipids.
Role of Fats
Although there are fewer types of fats than carbohydrates, fats produce more than twice as much energy as carbohydrates. Being a compact fuel, fat is efficiently stored in the body for later use when carbohydrates are in short supply. Fats are necessary, but only in small amounts. They are used for growth and repair, cushion our bones and internal organs, and provide some insulation against the cold. Besides, fats help give foods a smooth, rich taste.
Do you know that animals need stored fat to tide them over in dry or cold seasons, as do humans during times of scarce food supply?
We also need fats to transport fat-soluble vitamins into the body. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K, and these vitamins are not water soluble.
Some other lipids also serve the function of helping blood clot and helping the transmission of nerve pulses throughout the body. Cholesterol makes our skin and hair smooth, preventing them from drying up, and helps in the formation of Vitamin D.
How does Fat make us Fat?
|The fats can be stored in any cell in the body but are mostly stored beneath our skin. When you eat fried chicken, you may see a white layer under the skin, which is actually fats! Dont eat it! These fat tissues are called adipose tissue where the fat cells join together, depositing under our skin to make us fat. In women, the adipose tissue is mostly found in the hips, buttocks, and thighs; while in men, it is found in the abdomen causing big bellies. Hence, a fat mans body is shaped like an apple; while a fat womans body is shaped like a pear.|
Hazards of Being Fat
|Obesity is the
result of consuming excess fats. Being fat means being
less agile and less mobile because you will be carrying
extra weight around. Also, fat people tire easily. Fats
may deposit in our blood vessels and clog them up,
contributing to heart disease which causes fatigue. Other
ailments, including cancer, diabetes or arthritis may
develop. Fatty degeneration is the accumulation of fat
globules within the cells of a bodily organ, such as the
liver or heart, resulting in deterioration of tissue and
diminished functioning of the affected organ.
But most people are actually concerned about looking fat. They go on diets to look slim, rather than to make themselves more healthy. Although plant fats are considered healthier, any diet rich in fatty foods can be bad for the body. So if possible, do not take in excess fats!
Oil and Water dont Mix
If you pour oil into a jar of water, you will find oil floating on the surface. You may cover the jar and start shaking the jar, but it doesn't help. Although you will see the oil droplets mix in the beginning, they soon separate again on the surface. Is there a way to make them combine? Yes, by adding a chemical that has a fat-like part and a water-soluble part. You can try adding some detergent to the jar and shaking it. An emulsion of oil and water is formed. Food manufacturers use edible chemicals to keep mayonnaise and other food emulsions from separating.
You most probably have heard of cholesterol, and that it is bad for our health, clogging our arteries and leaving us with heart disease. But it is not all bad. In fact, our bodies need cholesterol, and it can be found in almost every tissue in the body.
Good and Bad Cholesterol
|Are you aware that good and bad cholesterol exist? Good cholesterol is actually a kind of lipoprotein (combination of proteins and lipids) called HDL. It carries cholesterol to the liver, where it is changed to bile salts and eventually sent out of the body. LVDL and LDL are the "baddies" and they are also lipoproteins. They carry cholesterol through the bloodstream to the body cells. But in excess, they may form fatty deposits in the artery walls and block the blood flow.|
Role of Cholesterol
Cholesterol also helps to lubricate the skin and hair, keeping them from drying out. It is used to form vitamin D. It helps in the digestion of food fats.
Food Sources of Fats
Animal fats can be found in such foods as:
Plant fats occur as oils in fruits (e.g. palm oil) and seeds (e.g. sunflower seed oil), and are used for cooking and making margarine.
High-Fat Foods & Alternatives
|Eat Less of||Eat Moderate Amounts of||Eat More of|
cuts, sausage, regular hot dogs, fried meats, organ meats
(e.g. liver), eggs
||Steak, ham, roasts, chicken or turkey hot dogs||Fish, other seafood, skinless poultry|
milk, canned milk, cream, sour cream, ice cream, butter,
hard cheese, cream cheese
||Lowfat milk, frozen yogurt, low-fat cheese, ice milk, margarine||Skim milk, lowfat yogurt, cheese with less then 5% fat|
cookies, pies, candy, chips
butter, unsalted peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans
||Fresh fruits, fresh veggies, unbuttered popcorn|
|Regular salad dressings, gravies, sauces, and spreads||Lowfat dressings||Fresh onions, garlic powder, herbs and spices|
This page has been authored for participation in
the 1997 Thinkquest Competition.