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Fats

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Fats are made up of the same elements as carbohydrates –carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen – but the way the atoms are linked together is different. Fats can be found in both plants and animals and are insoluble in water.

They are grouped in three categories:

a)     Simple fats (triglycerides)

b)    Compound fats (phospholipides, glucolipids, lipoproteins)

c)     Derived fats (cholesterol)

 Fats in the body serve three functions:

  1. They provide the major source of stored energy.
  2. They serve to cushion and protect the major organs.
  3. They act as an insulator, preserving body heat and protecting against excessive cold.

Fat is the most calorie-dense of any nutrients. A pound of fat contains 3500 calories, as opposed to 1600 calories stored in a pound of protein or carbohydrate.

When you exercise, assuming you stay within your aerobic capacity, the body uses fats and carbohydrates for energy on about a 50-50 basis. But the longer you continue to exercise, the higher percentage of fat used. After three hours or so, the body may derive as much as 80% of its energy from fat.

Fat molecules differ biochemically in their composition, being saturated, unsaturated or polyunsaturated. Diets high in saturated fat tend to raise the cholesterol level of the blood. Therefore, health experts recommend that something like two thirds of your fat intake by polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated fats are found in foods such as:

Buff

Lamb/Goat

Pork

Chicken

Shellfish

Egg Yolks

Cream

Milk

Cheese

Butter

Chocolate

Unsaturated fats are found in:

Avocadoes

Cashews

Olives and Olive oil

Peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter

Polyunsaturated fats are found in:

Almonds

Sunflower oil

Corn oil

Soyabean oil

Walnuts, etc.