[dropcap]S[/dropcap]cience essentially recognises four main types of fats in our foods: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saurated and transfats. Each has different chemical and physical properties, and therefore, a different role to play in the body.
Here are five things you would like to know.
Mass storage: Where will the fat eventually in the body? This is the one fact, everybody, especially women, worry about (read: obsess over). Women have more subcutaneous fat stores than men, so men store this visceral fat around the mesenteric blood vessel in the abdomen. When energy stored in fat cells is released, the fat mobilisation process leads to fatty acids entering the bloodstream. Visceral fat is more rapidly mobilised than subcutaneous fat and can accumulate in the liver. Fat also accumulates in the liver if the intake of alcohol or sugar is high. Excess accumulation of body fat is harmful if it is in the abdominal cavity or liver. It is often linked to developing type 2 diabetes.
Women must consume fat: Body fat plays an important role in fertility. Between 20-30 per cent of a healthy woman’s body weight is fat (this makes it twice as much as men). If the level drops below 18 per cent, for instance, ovulation stops.
Likewise, high levels typically about 50 per cent of her weight can also pose problems of infertility. Here’s why: A hormone called leptin is secreted by adipose (fat) tissue into the blood in proportion to the amount of fat it stores. The brain detects the blood leptin signal and this promotes ovulation when the level is high enough.
Fats for vitamins: Medical experts say about 30g of fat is required every day to promote the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Vegetable oils, for instance, are an important source of vitamin E and oily fish is the best dietary source of vitamin D that has become an urban epidemic of some sorts. Provitamins are substances that can be converted within the body into vitamins.
An energy food: Most of the energy in our diet comes from carbohydrates. But fats provide your body with energy as well as provide storage spots for energy in the body. Fat supplies between a quarter and two-fifths of an adult’s energy intake and half for a newborn. So, adding fat to food can double the energy content.