Fats or dietary lipids are another energy source for the body. Fats get a bad reputation, but they are absolutely necessary for normal bodily functions. Things that fats do for us is (i) provide energy, (ii) transport molecules to the blood, (iii) store nutrients and vitamins, (iv) help maintain proper transfer passage ways within the nervous system, (v) form hormones and protect organs, (vi) regulate body temperature, (vii) help identify energy demands, and (iix) help perform cellular functions and build cellular membranes.
Are all fats created equally? The answer, similarly to carbs, is no. You have simple, compound, and derived lipids. Simple lipids are oils or fats that contain one or two types of compounds. Compound lipids contain three or more chemical identities. Derived lipids are a product of both compound and simple lipids.
Saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated are fatty acids. Monounsaturated are large groups of one basic fat that can be found in animal and vegetable fats; Polyunsaturated are unsaturated fatty acids with more than one molecular bond; and saturated are solid fats at room temperature. Examples of foods with monounsaturated fats are avocados, olive oil, and nuts; polyunsaturated examples include safflower, sunflower, corn, cottonseed oils and fish; examples of saturated includes whole milk, cream, butter, coconut oil, and red meats.
When fatty acids are consumed, lipids are transported directly to the liver where they metabolize to VLDL (very low density lipoproteins and then stored as fuel as triglycerides. If storage of the fats is too high and there is excess, the VLDL is then turned to LDL (low density lipoprotein). LDL cholesterol can circulate in the blood and is considered hazardous because it may damage the linings of the arteries and add plaque. HDL (high density lipoprotein), however, is known as the “more desirable cholesterol” as it protects from plaque formation.
It is important to note that some cholesterol is needed to properly function and maintain homeostasis. It builds plasma membranes, aids in the formation of adrenal glands, aids in the formation of sex hormones, helps form tissues and organs, and is a Vitamin D precursor. But a lot of cholesterol is known to cause heart complications and places people at high risk. Cholesterol is mostly genetically predisposed, as 70% is said to be produced from the body and 30% from diet. Therefore it is critically important to (i) consume the right intake of dietary cholesterol, (ii) to not consume in excess, and (iii) to at all costs, avoid trans fatty acids that are hydrogenated.
Therefore, always remember to take the essential fatty acids (polyunsaturated), linolenic (Omega 3 unsaturated fatty acid), and linoleic (Omega 6 unsaturated fatty acid), and very low to moderate intakes of monounsaturated and even saturated fatty acids.
So how many fats should we consume? When determining it, multiply a subjective percentage (I would use 30%). If you consume 2000 kcals, 30% of that would be 600 kcals of fat. You would then divide the 600 by 9 (there are 9 calories in 1 gram of fat) to get the total number of approximately 66 to 67 grams.
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