Numerous sources of information will tell you that fats are potentially
harmful elements of your diet. While this is true in general, it does not
imply that fats are not valuable from a nutritional point of view. In
fact, fats are absolutely necessary for maintaining proper health. Fats
are the chief form of energy stored in the body. During times of
unavailability of food, the fats stored in the body provide energy to
There is good scientific reason behind why fats, and not carbohydrates,
remain the chief form of stored energy in the body. The body cannot store
glycogen (the dominant form of the body's carbohydrates) in great amounts
because glycogen holds a great deal of water and is very bulky. Fats, on
the other hand, can be packed tightly together without water. They can
store much more energy than glycogen in a small space.
Foods rich in fats are valuable in many situations. One gram of fat (or
oil) provides twice as many calories as obtained from one gram of
carbohydrates. People doing hard physical labor and those traveling in
cold climates require ample supply of fats to provide energy in the form
of heat. Fatty foods usually carry tempting aromas and flavors that cause
you to eat these foods in excess, getting unneeded calories.
How do you know when to stop eating? Well, there are certain fats in the
food that slow digestion and give the brain a signal to stop eating. That
is why fatty foods give a fuller feeling of satisfaction.
The vital organs of the body are surrounded by and cushioned in fat pads
that function as shock absorbers. Also, the layer of fat beneath the skin
prevents the body from extremes of temperature conditions. Fats also
dissolve some essential nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Without some fat in our diet, we cannot survive. The fear of eating too
much fat and gaining weight is often associated with anorexia and other
eating disorders, but fat, in moderate amounts, is actually healthy for
your body. Look for fats that are good for your body, such as those found
in olive oil, and reduce the fats that are bad for your body, such as the
ones found in fast food. Remember to eat a small amount of good fats
every day so that you can maintain good health.