As unwanted as a pimple on your buttocks, many of us aren’t really eager to hoard in more bodyweight within clear sight of fellow citizens and in front of that dreaded mirror. Standing on the bathroom scale has been ruled out because the numbers hardly point in the right direction.
The word ‘fat’ is intertwined with the above. It lingers around like a curse. This substance lies so deep within us and protruding under the lining of our shirts like a theatre actor looking quickly at what kind of audience awaits for the performance of a lifetime. Yet, body fat has a bit of a counter-intuitive approach. We have no desire to drag out its “quality” to the outside world. Instead, we dress ourselves up in larger clothes; we may even wrap something around our waste to cover not to make an appearance, and are making all kinds of wishes to deities (in the broadest sense of the word) to eradicate that evil out of our lives.
Yet, we all need it.
In its nutritional definition, we need fat. There is a distinction between quality dietary fats and fats that offer little to no contribution to our overall health and exposure.
Historically, we have made some revelations when the trend was to cut out all dietary fat products. The world went totally berserk a couple of decades ago. Any food with fat in it was seen as the primary source for Michelin-Man shaped bodies.
We are talking less than 50 years ago! The nutrition sciences are the new kid on the block, compared to other fields of scientific research.
When fat foods got a bad rep, the average health indicators dropped below healthy levels. We stepped into a world where anything containing fatty acids of the natural kind was deemed unfit. Trends of this nature may still roam in some of the nutritional plans of those wanting you to guide you and make you slim.
The distinction lies in what kind of fat you want to digest. Like with carbohydrates, there are less preferred and more preferred versions of fat in the market. In its simplest form, dietary fats are the most energy-rich macro-nutrient on the menu. It contains more than twice (!) the amount of energy per gramme compared to its other brothers – carbs and protein (and to a certain extend, alcohol).
So when you look into the mirror, consider the fact that you are carrying a heck of an amount of energy with you. It is the fuel that drives our daily movement, keeps our organs afloat, and ensures we stay alive when we sleep. A bit dramatic perhaps, but the facts point in these directions.
Dietary fats do more than keeping our internal combustion engine running. In its fatty acid form, it supports cell growth, keeps organs healthy, regulates our body temperature, and keeps our blood pressure under control. Many may not know that dietary fat sources are the exclusive carriers of certain vitamins. Vitamins such as A, D, E and K are fat-soluble vitamins.
Although Vitamin D is primarily sourced from sunlight, there are some foods that have a decent amount of D Vitamins. Yet many fat sources hardly provide enough D to top up on your daily needs. Going out for a brisk walk in broad daylight is the way to set yourself up for this vitamin success.
Labelled as a troublemaker of the first order, cholesterol is categorized as fat. Often connected with your LDL (less preferred) or HDL (our preferred partner in crime) levels, we also need cholesterol. Most of the cholesterol is made by our liver, and it is an lifelong supporter of cell membrane production. It is also a driving force behind the production of Vitamin D.
When eating fibrous foods, the gut relies on receiving cholesterol-based salts – called bile – to excrete that what cannot be digested by our gut bacteria. So when your cholesterol levels are high, go wild of fibrous vegetables!
The caveat in fat intake through foods lies in how we take in ‘fats’ in our foods. For decades, the incremental growth in trans fats (factory-produced) is alarmingly high. Totally reconstructed from natural resources in increasing its shelf life, these fats provide little fatty acids our body can use. Hard to metabolise (liquids turned more into solidified states), it lingers longer in our body as it works our way to decrease our good cholesterol levels (HDL) in favour of LDL.
The connection between modern-day diseases and trans fats is now solidified. There is simply no denying any longer that excessive intake of artificially manufactured fats is detrimental to your health. You often do not know in what shape, size or volume these trans fats enter the acidic environment of your stomach before entering your bloodstream.
And yes, as you may be aware, our body is king in storing fat. Not protein, not carbs, just good old fat.
There are plenty of great sources available of dietary fats on our planet. From oils to seafood and nuts, adding some fat to your diet really makes a difference. As soon as you are aware of what you are eating. Add this into your diet in good amounts and you’re going to be thriving!
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