The final macronutrient we wanted to discuss is fat. Fats are often demonised by the weight loss industry. Although typically saturated fats are “unhealthy” fats and unsaturated fats are “healthy” fats, all fats are integral for overall health. The main functions of dietary fats are:
✅ Supplying fuel for cells
✅ Providing essential fatty acids
✅ Being a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins
✅ Protective layer around essential organs
✅ Providing a reserve supply of energy in the form of adipose tissue
The dietary fat that we consume is either: used for energy, incorporated into other body tissues and organs or stored as adipose tissue.
There are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated.
🧀 Saturated Fats – Saturated fats contain no double bonds between their carbon atoms. They tend to be solid at room temperature and come from animal sources.
🥜 Unsaturated Fats – Unsaturated fatty acids lack double bonds between the individual carbon atoms, while in unsaturated fatty acids there is at least one double bond in the fatty acid chain. They are usually liquid at room temperature and come from plant sources.
There are also two types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
🥑 Monounsaturated Fats – Monounsaturated fats or MUFAs, have a single double bond in their structure. They help to protect from coronary heart disease and provide nutrients to help maintain cells in the body.
🐟 Polyunsaturated Fats – Polyunsaturated fats or PUFAs, have multiple carbon-carbon double bonds. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These are essential fatty acids that the body needs for brain function and cell growth. Our bodies do not make essential fatty acids, we only get them from food.
🔁 You can help to ensure that you are consuming a good balance of healthy fats by eating a wide variety of foods such as animal products, fish, seafood, eggs, olives, avocado, nuts and seeds.
In the next few days we will write a post looking at omega-fatty acids and cholesterol – so stay tuned for more info 👀