Written by Vanessa Jones, B.A  | 
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nithin Jayan, MBBS, DNB on Jan 10, 2019

What is Fat?

A myriad of myths surround what is actually good nutrition - most of us, eager for quick and simple health fix, jump from one health fad to the next.

The greater part of food labeled fat free or low-fat is actually refined and processed in which fat has been replaced by sugars.

The vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble - which means the body can absorb them only when there is fat present. There are basically two types of fats - the good unsaturated fats and the bad saturated fats.

Top 5 Functions of Fat

Functions of Fat in the Body

Fat is structurally important for every cell in our body, it is also very important as it is required by each cell to properly digest all the fat soluble vitamins. For example - the fat in egg yolks allows the body to access vitamins and cannot be compared to the absorption by fortified skimmed milk or egg whites without egg yolks.

Fat is an important source of slow and steady energy, which is completely different to the sudden and quick spikes given by sugar.

During the 1990ís - store shelves abounded with food labeled Ďlow-fat yogurt, low-fat cookies, low fat butter etc'. In the recent years, people have come to understand that moderate consumption of fats has offered positive results.

There are good types of fat that keep you healthy and can actually help you lose weight:

Olive Oil- This is surprisingly healthy - it is mono-unsaturated and is used as a dressing for salads or light cooking. Antioxidants, carotenoids and Vitamin E are present in this fat. It also contains the satiety hormone - serotonin, which gives a feeling of fullness and prevents weight gain. Olive oil controls blood pressure, prevents various cancers and is said to manage diabetes, asthma and arthritis.

Coconut oil- This oil has anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties. It improves digestion, nutrient absorption and intestinal health. This oil also helps cardiovascular functions along with improving kidney and liver health.

Coconut oil is used for weight management as it is composed of saturated fats; the fatty acids in coconut oil differ from animal products. The medium chain triglycerides are easily metabolized and used as energy. It increases the HDL or good cholesterol. It is added to smoothies to aid weight reduction.

Fats That Don't Make You Fat!

Avocados- These are packed with nutrients and according to studies conducted some nutrients known as carotenoids are absorbed efficiently when eaten with avocados. They are packed with anti-oxidants, mineral and fiber. Avocados are also an excellent source of glutathione which can cleanse, and protect the body from heavy metals and detoxify the body while maintaining a healthy immune system. The folate in avocados is good for heart health and prevents strokes. Eaten in moderation it can be added as a flavor to salads or smoothies and will give a feeling of satiety.

Nuts- A study conducted in 2009 showed that eating a fistful of nuts - three times a week, showed a lower risk of weight gain and obesity. Nuts are a popular source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and also maintain blood sugar.

Seeds- There are some seeds which are great when added to the diet as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. These seeds are a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, iron and zinc. Some of the seeds like flax, chia, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are known as superfoods. They can be added to salads, baked products, nutrition bars and smoothies. These fats are healthy - moderation is the keyword, you cannot afford to fry snacks in olive or coconut oil - even though they are healthy fats.

Eating fat does not make you fat - eating sugar makes you fat.

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