Dr. Martin's notes

Wednesday December 7, 2016

FATS

Fats are essential in a good diet, as they are the carriers for many nutrients and other products in the blood. There are many different kinds of fats and some are better for you than others.

Dietary fat is required to carry out a number of functions. It is a carrier of fat-soluble vitamins and provides certain essential fatty acids. Fat is also an important source of energy, and is used interchangeably with protein and carbohydrates. Each gram of fat contains a little more than twice the calories (9) of carbohydrates and protein. Fats occur naturally in food and play an important role in nutrition. Fats and oils provide a concentrated source of energy for the body. Fats are used to store energy in the body, insulate body tissues, and transport fat-soluble vitamins through the blood.

Not all fats and oils are created equal. Fats and oils are made up of basic units called fatty acids. Each type of fat or oil is a mixture of different fatty acids. Because overall fat intake is associated with obesity, cancer, and heart disease risk, it is a good idea to limit your intake of all three kinds of fats.

1. Saturated Fatty acids are found in animal products
2. Monsaturated fatty acids are found mainly in vegetable oils
3. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn and flaxseed. They can be dangerous because they break down when heated, and some of the by-products are carcinogens (cancer causing).
4. Trans fatty acids are formed when vegetable oils are processed into margarine or shortening. These are known to cause excessive plaque formation in the bloodstream and should be avoided. They are often listed on food labels as "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil"