There are three primary dietary macronutrients: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. A fat macronutrient majorly consists of hydrogen and carbon atoms which makes it insoluble in water and soluble in organic solvents. Every gram of fat, there are nine calories, and despite their bad reputation, fats are essential for proper bodily functions. We explore the different types of fats and their role in the body.
Types of fats
Fats can be subdivided into different categories depending on their structure as well as their role in the body. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature and are saturated with hydrogen molecules. They are generally responsible for high cholesterol levels, and therefore, their increased intake could increase your chances of cardiovascular diseases. The major source of saturated fats is animal-based foods such as red meats.
Trans fats are considered the worst kind of fats for the human body. They usually result from the process of hydrogenation that aims at turning healthy oils into solids. This type of fat will, therefore, result from human activity as opposed to occurring naturally. Different states may have rules regarding trans fats to regulate their uptake. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats are excellent energy sources and play a significant role in the protection of the heart. They also support insulin sensitivity ensuring proper regulation of sugar levels in the blood.
Polyunsaturated fats are majorly found in plant-based food including soybeans and some types of fish like mackerel and tuna. These fats have positive effects on the body, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and should, therefore, be a constant occurrence in the diet. They provide essential fatty acids in the body, such as omega three and omega 6.
Functions of Fats in the body
Their primary function in the body is the provision of energy. They are the most efficient sources of energy, and therefore, the body stores excessive calories in the form of fat. Fats are also crucial in the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, including, K, A, D, and E. In addition to this, fats are essential in growing healthy hair and maintaining healthy skin.
All essential organs in the body are protected by a layer of fat that makes it harder for harmful organisms to reach the organs. The fat ensures that the organs are not easily damaged by external injuries such as those resulting from accidents. A covering of fat under the skin protects the body and plays a significant role in regulating the internal temperatures.
There are different requirements concerning how much fat you should be consuming. That will be determined by your gender, your level of activity, the lifestyle you lead, and your body goals. However, it is good to attain a balance amongst the different types of fats as well as other macronutrients. Fats that are considered suitable for the body should be consumed more while those that are likely to increase the risk of diseases should be avoided or taken in minimal quantities.